Herm Frazier celebrates 40th anniversary of winning Olympic gold
As Syracuse University Deputy Athletic Director Herm Frazier watches the Rio Olympics unfold, undoubtedly emotions come flooding back.
Emotions of absolute glory on the world's largest stage.
Frazier, just a 20 year old junior at Arizona State at the time was the youngest runner for Team USA's track team at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
“We get to the Olympic Games, and all the people that are wear your shirt and tie, from the media, they go, ‘well we don’t know if Frazier’s going to medal, he’s young, he’s a young kid who’s only been running [at that time] for four years.’ So, I was a novice" Frazier says.
Apparently, that didn't matter because in his first Olympic race, Frazier captured bronze in the 400 meter run.
"To get through all the heats—we had to run four races—and capture the bronze medal was just a great feeling" Frazier adds.
Perhaps the next most important fact to come out of that race was a strategy for the upcoming 4x100 relay.
One of Frazier's Team USA teammates finished 2nd and Cuba's 3rd leg runner won gold in that 400 meter race. That meant that Frazier could take the lead for the Americans with his speed unmatched in the world for that position.
"I led off, and we always thought I was going to lead off based on the strategy for us. I always used to kid everybody saying I was going to lead off because I would get more T.V. time. So I’m walking around, I’m flexing and everything else.”
“Next thing you know, we go and get on the podium along with Poland and Germany, and that’s when it’s overwhelming.” Herman recalls.
Yes, Team USA won gold in that event and created a memory Frazier takes with him everywhere.
Frazier was tapped to compete and was a favorite in the 1980 Olympics, but didn't compete, along with all of Team USA in all sports.
Remember, the Americans boycotted those games in Moscow after the now fallen Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
Still, Frazier carries two medals with him the rest of his life, something that nobody can ever take away and that so very few ever achieve.
“For a young kid like myself, who wasn’t even supposed to be there, I will never ever forget those moments.”