Thursday, January 19, 2012
Vol. 2 No. 5 Dave Sime Today (2010)
SATURDAY, APRIL 24, 2010
BY JEFF ROBERTS
The shadows hid his face, enshrouding Dave Sime for one private moment before the photographers closed in around him.
'I liked the adrenaline rush, the competition. You feel like you can run through a wall,' Dave Sime says of running track.
Dave Sime of the United States, far right, heaving his body to the finish line of the 100 meters at the 1960 Rome Olympics, only to place second to Germany's Armin Hary, far left.
He stood alone near the starting line, a silhouette doubled over in pain, abandoned by the other sprinters.
The world's fastest man had taken just two steps before his dream evaporated in the gloomy Los Angeles Coliseum lights, felled by the left groin muscle he ripped from the bone two weeks before the 1956 Olympic trials.
This was the moment that changed everything for the Paterson-born, Fair Lawn-bred Sime. The moment that has shaped the rest of a charmed life that reads more like an adventure novel than a sports biography.
You may not know the story of David William Sime. But you won't soon forget it.
Sime (rhymes with rim) broke or tied nine world track and field records. He earned All-America honors in track and baseball at Duke.
The Sime file
Home: Surfside, Fla.
Highlights: The Paterson-born, Fair Lawn-bred Sime was dubbed the world's fastest man in the mid-1950s, just missing two gold medals at the 1960 Olympics. He was also an All-American baseball player at Duke before becoming an accomplished ophthalmologist.
FYI: Sime counted Richard Nixon, Mickey Mantle and Bob Griese among his patients.
Quote: "I was very highly motivated. And I was in the right place at the right time. I think I've been pretty lucky. I worked hard. But a lot of people work hard. There are a lot of Einsteins driving taxicabs."
He almost captured two gold medals as a sprinter and nearly coaxed a Russian to defect at the 1960 Rome Olympics.
And Sime turned down major league baseball and NFL offers to become an internationally recognized eye surgeon, counting Richard Nixon, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle among his patients.
All of it began that night in 1956, when the pain overwhelmed the Novocaine Sime said he had injected before the race, the night he decided he was meant to be more than just an athlete.
"One minute you're on top and then you're nothing, as was proven with me," Sime said. "In '56 I was slated to win three golds. The guy I beat every time when I was healthy [Bobby Morrow] went on to win three golds.
"But it was a blessing in disguise. You have to always be looking ahead."
Sime works out every other day at age 73, maintaining his college weight. He's a 10 handicapper in golf, playing a couple of times a week with former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula.
The Surfside, Fla., resident has survived two bouts with cancer, including a rare tumor behind his eye five years ago.