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Four time Olympian and East Tech grad Harrison Dillard dies at 96




Harrison Dillard, an East Tech High School graduate, four-time Olympic gold medalist and retired Cleveland Board of Education business manager, died Nov. 15 at the age of 96. 

Born in 1923, the lifelong Clevelander was a standout sprinter and hurdler at East Tech and won two state titles as a senior in 1941.

Dillard went on to attend Baldwin-Wallace College before being drafted into the Army during World War II. Dillard served in “The Buffalo Soldiers,” a segregated Army unit that fought in Europe during the war.  

After the war, Dillard returned to Baldwin-Wallace where he  won four national collegiate titles in the high and low hurdles. According to the Baldwin-Wallace website, Dillard, who set world records in the hurdles, also took 14 AAU outdoor titles in the high and low hurdles before graduating in 1949. 

He won two Olympic gold medals at the 1948 games in London and two more during the 1952 summer games in Helsinki, Finland. To date, Dillard is still the only male athlete to ever win Olympic gold medals in both the sprints and high hurdles. 

In 1955, he won the Sullivan Award, given to the nation's top amateur athlete.

Dillard worked for the Cleveland  Board of Education for more than 20 years as director of purchasing and then chief of the board. He retired in 1992. 

Read remembrances of Dillard in:

The Washington Post

 The New York Times