It occurred within a transition period between manual and electronic timing. The importance of measuring time with an accuracy lower than one tenth of a second no longer made it possible to rely on a manual process whatever the skill and the training of the referee. The measurement will become fully automatic in 1977.
On June 20, 1968 in Sacramento, the 100 meter of the US national championships is won by Hines. Manually timed in 9.9 seconds , he is then considered as the first athlete to break the 10 second mark but the electronic timing used in redundancy displays a higher value at 10.03 seconds.
In October at the Olympic Games, Hines brilliantly confirms that he is the best, with 9.95 seconds between the sound of the gun and the photo of his crossing of the finish line. His time under 10 seconds is now undeniable and moreover his competitors follow far behind, at 10.04 seconds for the silver medal and 10.07 seconds for the bronze medal. He won another gold medal in the 4 x 100 meter relay.
The altitude of Mexico City is conducive to record breaking. Bob Beamon's long jump at the same Games will remain legendary forever. Undoubtedly considering that he has reached a limit, Hines stops track and fields immediately after his return and begins a short lived professional career in American football.
Hines lent his 100 meter gold medal in the early 1980s before giving it up to the pawn lender. It will be sold by SCP Auctions in an online sale ending on November 4, lot 699. His world record was overcome in 1983 by Calvin Smith. The 4 x 100 m gold medal is offered as lot 698.