JULY 2, 1956
Not many of the doctor's patients realize they're having their eyes checked by a man once dubbed the World's Fastest Human. "If they're old enough, they do," says Dave Sime, who held six world sprint and hurdles records at one time during the mid-1950s. "I want patients to come to me because I'm a good eye doctor, not an ex-athlete."
Sime, 65, practices in the Miami area—where he lives with his second wife, Ileana—and has performed more than 10,000 ophthalmic operations. He also served on the U.S. Olympic Committee on Sports Medicine, helped set up eye care for the Olympic-training facility in Colorado Springs and treated several Olympic boxers, including Sugar Ray Leonard. Those are the Olympic moments he has enjoyed. The ones in which he played the role of athlete, however, were anything but sweet. "Frankly," he says, "I have nothing but bad memories about Rome."
Sime headed to the 1960 Olympics as the world-record holder in the 100-yard dash but lost the 100-meters in a photo finish to West Germany's Armin Hary. "It was a negative experience," he says. "I wanted to win but came in second." He didn't even keep the silver medal but gave it to his mother. He also anchored the U.S. 4 x 100 relay team that set a world record but was disqualified for a bad baton exchange.
As a sophomore at Duke, where he also played baseball and football, Sime had emerged as a top U.S. sprinter, trading victories with archrival Bobby Morrow during the 1956 season. A pulled groin muscle sustained at the NCAA championships tore as he came out of the starting blocks at the '56 Olympic trials, and Morrow went on to win three gold medals in Melbourne. "When I didn't go because of an injury," he says, "I thought I'd better hit the books and study. It motivated me to go to medical school. Sports are great, but you never know what's going to happen."
Sime's athleticism has reappeared in his children from his first marriage. Sherrie played No. 1 for the Virginia tennis team. Scott wrestled and played football in high school, then followed his father onto the gridiron at Duke. Youngest daughter Lisa, appeared in FACES IN THE CROWD (March 17, 1986) and went on to play soccer at Stanford, where she met her husband, Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey. Dave still runs but also enjoys in-line skating, biking and golf. Sime has begun to consider retiring from his surgical practice but never ponders how things might have been different. "In life, you never look back," he says. "You take bad experiences as motivation for better things. You can't dwell on what would've, could've, should've been."