Henry ‘Harry’ Winston Jerome emerged as international sensation by clocking 10.0 seconds in the 100 metre dash at the Canadian Olympic Trials in 1959, equaling the world record at the time. Nationally he was already known, setting the Canadian 220 yard sprinting record a year earlier at just 18 year’s of age. Harry Jerome was born September 30, 1940, in Saskatchewan and moved West with his family to Vancouver, BC, in 1951.

Pulling a muscle in the semi-finals before his highly anticipated 1960 Olympic games in Rome, and a near career ending full quadriceps tear at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Harry Jerome was left subject to unjustifiably harsh criticism from the media. However, Harry showcased resilience, making a triumphant comeback at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, securing a bronze medal for Canada in the 100 meters.

Continuing his streak, Harry Jerome claimed gold at the 1966 British Commonwealth Games, setting a world record of 9.1 seconds over 100 yards, and triumphed at the Pan-American Games in 1967. His persistence culminated by representing Canada at his third Olympic Games in 1968, defying earlier doubts about his career longevity. Historical photos courtesy of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

Furthermore, Harry Jerome made outstanding contributions to youth sports and the local community. The event was titled the ‘Harry Jerome International Track Classic’ earlier, and is now referred to as ‘The Jerome Classic’, to pay honour to Harry Jerome’s outstanding contributions to both sport and community.

Valerie Jerome, Harry’s sister, simultaneously etched her name in history, capturing a bronze medal at the 1959 Pan American Games as well as competing for Team Canada in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, alongside Harry. Valerie’s athletic prowess and ground-breaking achievement served as an inspiration, leaving a legacy in Canadian sports history and track and field. Her contribution to Canada’s success on the international stage stands as a testament to her skill, determination, and commitment to excellence.

Valerie and Harry Jerome, following their athletic triumphs, remained influential figures in sports and education. Valerie became a PE teacher, guiding young athletes, while Harry mentored and advocated for youth sports.

Following the path of their grandfather, John Armstrong Howard, Canada’s first Black Olympic athlete in 1912, Valerie and Harry Jerome remain inspirational figures. The Jerome family broke barriers in sport with legacies of athletic excellence and a dedication to nurturing the next generation.

Harry Jerome 

A hallmark event

In 1984, this event was renamed the ‘Harry Jerome Track Classic’ in loving memory of the legendary Canadian Olympic sprinter Henry ‘Harry’ Winston Jerome who passed in ’82 after inspiring generations with his remarkable talent and commitment community.

In 2024, the event name shortened to The Jerome Classic, continuing to pay tribute to Harry Jerome, his epic athletic performances, and commitment to supporting youth development and the local athletic community. The meet also underwent a exciting new partnership between the non-profit Vancouver International Marathon Society RUNVAN® and the Achilles International Track and Field Society.

History Continued

Two Venues

Burnaby, BC

Swangard Stadium, Burnaby
3883 Imperial Street, Burnaby, BC V5G 4H7

Langley, BC

McLeod Athletic Park
5687 216 St, Langley Twp, BC V2Y 2N5

The Meet is thanks to the vision and dedication of its founders, the Achilles International Track and Field Society.

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