"At that point I realized I was in a horrible nightmare.
We went to the track as fast as we could.
We are running through the tunnel. I hear a shot go off.
Midway in that tunnel my race went off."
Eddie Hart, 1972 Olympian
Eddie Hart is one of the nicest, most genuine and gracious people I have ever interviewed. At age 13 he dreamed of becoming the fastest human on earth. That meant he had to win the 100 meter sprint at the Olympics.
Eddie trained hard for that goal, made sacrifices and ten years later, 1972, he qualified for the games in Munich, Germany. In the Olympic trials he equaled the world sprint record: 9.9 seconds. Eddie Hart entered the games as the favorite. But his dream turned into a nightmare ...
Due to a series of unfortunate circumstances he and fellow sprinter Rey Robinson missed their quarterfinals. They were disqualified.
Eddie compares that moment to what parents must feel, when they have taken good care of their child for ten years, done everything the child needed, and on the 10th birthday it is snatched away from them, and they never see it again.
Eddie Hart did go home with a Gold medal from those games. He won the 4x100 meters with the US men's relay team. That fact eased his pain a little bit.
The assassination of eleven athletes from Israel a few days later put everything else in perspective too.
The miracle about this story for me is the fact that Eddie Hart did not become bitter, resentful or vengeful as a result of this experience. The opposite is true, he says. The experience made him a better person, more patient, more understanding.
Listen to him, tell the story: