Who was Bob Hayes? He’s still the only athlete to do this

Former Olympian and NFL star Bob Hayes. (Getty Images)

If any members of a Super Bowl-winning team wanted to try and win an Olympic gold medal, they wouldn’t be the first to achieve both a Super Bowl title and a gold medal.

That distinction forever belongs to “Bullet” Bob Hayes, who hailed from Jacksonville, Florida.

There was a reason why he was bestowed the nickname, because Hayes was as fast as a bullet. That was evident at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, when Hayes first won a gold medal in the 100-meter dash, clocking in at 10.06 seconds, which, at the time was a world record.

Hayes then was a part of the United States’ 4X100 relay team that won a gold medal, and before the race, French anchorman Jocelyn Delecour reportedly told U.S. leadoff runner Paul Drayton, “You can’t win, all you have is Bob Hayes.”

To that, Drayton replied, “That’s all we need, pal,” according to Olympic Channel.

Indeed, Hayes was all the American team needed.

Hayes moved the U.S. from fifth when he took the baton to first at the finish line by the time his anchor leg was over, being timed between 8.5 and 8.9 seconds over 100 meters.

Following those two gold medals, Hayes decided to pursue a career in professional football after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round of the 1964 NFL Draft.

A wide receiver and kick returner who was impossible to catch, considering his speed, Hayes made the Pro Bowl during his first three seasons.

The Cowboys then made it to Super Bowl VI, where Hayes made two receptions in a 24-3 win over Miami to add a Super Bowl ring to his two gold medals.

Hayes died in 2002 at the age of 59 in his hometown of Jacksonville.

There have been so many great athletes in NFL history, but as of yet, none have been able to equal the feat of Hayes by winning a Super Bowl and an Olympic gold medal in the same lifetime.

This story was first published in 2021. It has since been updated.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.