Lindy Remigino is a two time Olympic champion in track and field (1952, Helsinki) and a 1988 NYAC Hall of Fame Inductee.
Remigino was born June 3rd, 1931 in Queens, NY.
He earned a scholarship to Manhattan College after an impressive performance at the New York State high school championships.
Heading into the trials in 1952 Olympic Trials in Los Angeles, no one, except for himself, expected Remigino to qualify for the Olympic Games in Helsinki. In the weeks leading up to the trials, he finished fifth in the NCAA championships meet and failed to qualify for the final in the AAU championships. For that reason, he was largely overlooked when the trials began. However, to everyone’s amazement, he finished second to the overall favorite, Art Bragg, and qualified for the Olympic Games.
Momentum from the trials carried Remigino to two easy victories in the heats and quarter-finals, and a second place finish in the semi-finals. Remigino had come out of nowhere and was now considered a favorite to medal. To win gold, however, he had to beat Herb McKenley, the world record holder in the 400m, and the man who beat him in the semi-finals.
Remigino got off to a great start in the final, and, after 50m, had a one meter lead on McKenley. Years later, Remigino admitted that at that point, he began to think to himself, “I’m going to win the Olympic championships.”
But he had begun to celebrate too early. With 20m left in the race, Remigino leaned forward, causing him to slow down. McKenley pounced on the opportunity and made up significant ground. McKenley actually passed Remigino immediately after they crossed the finish line, but, to the naked eye, it was impossible to tell who had finished first. Remigino assumed that McKenley had won and approached him to offer congratulations.
It took the officials 20 minutes to determine who had won. After enduring this interminable, and presumably torturous, amount of time, the results appeared on the scoreboard: 1. Remigino, USA (10.4); 2. McKenley, JAM (10.4). A mere fourteen inches separated the first four finishers, all of whom had the same time. However, the judges determined, upon reviewing the photo finish, that Remigino's shoulder had crossed the line an instant before McKenley did.
Later in the Games, Remigino would go on to win yet another gold medal on the US 4x100m relay. The relay team included two other Olympic champions, as well as Dean Smith, a finalist in the 100m. “We could drop the [baton] and win,” Remigino joked. Fortunately for Remigino, no one did; in fact, the race turned out to be close, but American Andy Stanfield pulled away in the final leg to win.
Remigino retired from competition after the 1952 Olympic Games. He returned to Manhattan College to finish his degree and later taught at Hartford High School, where he also coached the track and field team.
Remigino passed away on July 11, 2018 at the age of 87.