Renaldo Nehemiah

NFL player

Name=Renaldo Nehemiah
DateOfBirth=birth date and age|1959|3|24
Birthplace= Newark, New Jersey
Position=Wide receiver
College=University of Maryland
teams=San Francisco 49ers

Renaldo ("Skeets") Nehemiah (born March 24, 1959 in Newark, New Jersey), is an American athlete who dominated the 110 m hurdle event from 1978 until 1981. He was the world record holder and the first man to run the high hurdles in under 13 seconds. He was ranked number one in the world for four straight years.

Track career

Nehemiah was the national junior champion in 1977, the same year he graduated from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in his hometown of Scotch Plains, New Jersey. [ [ "SPORTS PEOPLE; Nehemiah Wins One"] , "The New York Times", November 10, 1982. Accessed January 3, 2008.] Representing the University of Maryland, he won three NCAA titles (two indoor). In 1979 he won the Pan American Games title and the World Cup, although, he is also remembered for his great relay legs for the Terrapins at the Penn Relays. The relays were just two weeks after he first broke the world record for the 110 meter hurdles. During the relays he recorded an unofficial split of 19.4 seconds in the 4-by-200 meter relay and a 44.3 second split in the 4x400 meter relay. Nehemiah described his 400-meter leg as follows:

:"So, I just ran harder and harder as the noise [of the crowd] got louder. And before I knew it, I could see (Villanova’s) Tim Dale and the finish line about 20 meters in front of me. As I was really starting to be overwhelmed by the pain, I dug one more time with all I had, and surged past a fading Dale and believe I won by a couple of meters. [Afterwards] ... I told myself that I would not ever feel that type of pain again in my life. And I never ran another 400-meter again."

Due to the U.S. boycott, he was unable to compete in the 1980 Olympic games, despite being the prohibitive favorite. In 1981 he set his outdoor world record of 12.93 for the 110-meter hurdles. This was the third time he had lowered the outdoor world record.

Pat Connolly, who also coached sprinter Evelyn Ashford, was instrumental in reviving Nehemiah's track career after his short foray in football. Connolly is quoted as saying:

:"If he had concentrated on athletics he would have matched Harrison Dillard's achievement (double gold in the 100m and 110m hurdles). He clearly could have ran under 9.9 in the 100."

She also believed he may have been better suited for the 400 m hurdle event. She is on record as saying:

:"Based on a 300m I timed in practice, I believe he would still hold the world record in that event (400m hurdles), had he given it a serious try."

Football career

Nehemiah worked out in 1982 for several NFL teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Francisco 49ers and ended up signing with the 49ers in a blaze of publicity and high expectations. During his three years as a wide receiver he caught 43 passes for 754 yards, a 17.5 average, and 4 touchdowns. Although he was part of the Super Bowl winning team in the 1984 season, he did not play a major role. His football career was a failure – indeed, it represents one of the most glaring mistakes ever made by 49ers head coach Bill Walsh – winning Nehemiah a comparison to the track star Jimmie "Oops" Hines, who won his infamous nickname for his inability to catch the ball. Nehemiah returned to track in 1986. He managed to achieve world rankings four more times before retiring from athletics after the 1991 season.

Career Highlights for 110 m hurdles

The Superstars

Nehemiah was the only four-time winner of "The Superstars," a made-for-television decathlon-style competition broadcast by ABC Sports. He won the event in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1986.


He is currently involved with Octagon Sports Marketing, a sports management and marketing agency, as the Director of Track & Field. He has represented many of the world's best hurdlers and sprinters including Allen Johnson, Mark Crear and Justin Gatlin.


External links

* [ Hall of Fame]
* [ Pat Connolly Quotes]
* [ 1979 Penn Relays Quotes]
* [ Career Football Stats]
* [ Super Bowl XIX Stats]

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