So what does a young man hear in the seconds before he meets Olympic immortality? Well, first he could hear the Italian delegation he had befriended and shared pasta fazool with, shouting his last name. Yet as 80,000 fans became one great wall of silence, Remigino would hear only this: "Paikoillane!" Remigino shouts 60 years later. "Valmiit!"
They are the starter's commands in Finnish.
Remigino burst from Lane 3. He had a good start and it was only getting better. With 40 meters left, he clearly was in the lead. With 20 meters left, he made a terrible mistake.
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"I'm thinking, 'I'm going to win this thing,'" Remigino said. "I started leaning for the tape with my chest. What happens when you lean is your steps get shorter and shorter."
In Lane 2, immediately to his left, McKenley was closing with an enormous finish. They hit the tape and Remigino saw the long, tall Jamaican flash past him.
"I thought I blew it," Remigino said. "I'm a smart sprinter. And I blew it. I congratulated Herb. I told him, "I think you won.'"
Remigino was wrong. Remigino, McKenley, Bailey and American Dean Smith all were timed in 10.4 seconds, the fifth and sixth finishers in 10.5. The judges said Remigino had won.
"The protest came from the coach of the Jamaican team, Joe Yancey," Remigino said. "I knew him well. He also was the coach of the Pioneer Club of New York."
The photo-finish was examined carefully, painfully. Twenty excruciating minutes passed. It seemed like 20 hours. With a turn of his right shoulder, it was determined Remigino had hit the tape first.
"My name flashed on the scoreboard," Remigino said. "It felt like somebody had electrocuted me."
None of his family was in Helsinki to rejoice with him. They couldn't afford it. Notes of joy would be shared by telegram. So how did Remigino celebrate?
"Well, they only gave us $1.76 a day spending money, so I couldn't go too far," Remigino said. "Plus, I had the relay to run."
Just like that, Red Smith, then of the New York Herald Tribune, and Harold Abrahams, the 1924 Olympic champion and longtime British journalist who would be immortalized in the movie "Chariots Of Fire," were fighting to talk to him in the post-race frenzy. Which leads to a story and a laugh.
"We went in and sat at this long table," Remigino said. "Abrahams goes, 'Lindy, I want to talk to you …' Red Smith interrupted him, 'Oh, no you're not. He's American. I'm an American.' Red wanted the first question."
Just like that, he was the World's Fastest Human, the title bestowed on the 100-meter Olympic champion.
"I knew I was damn fast, but I never believed I was the fastest human," Remigino said. "I'm going to be very honest with you. Yes, I won the 100 meter. Yes, I was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1952. I won all my races after that. But fastest human? Jimmy Golliday from Northwestern was injured and couldn't run. I believe he was."
Remigino was the fastest on that July day and he would win a second gold medal a few days later as the powerful Americans Smith, Dillard, Remigino and Andy Stanfield roared to relay victory over the Soviet Union.
"I'll say it," Remigino said. "We could have dropped the stick and still won."
After the Olympics he remained in Europe and raced. Amsterdam, Oslo, Edinburgh, London. He kept winning. He tied Jesse Owens' record of 10.2 in the 100 (only to get a letter in the mail a month later that based on a wind gauge the record was not ratified). When Remigino landed at Idlewild Airport in New York, arrangements were quickly in place for a parade in Hartford. Remigino had been named after Charles Lindbergh and it was fitting. Only Lindbergh and Gen. John J. Pershing had received the city's medallion of honor before Remigino.
The parade went down Main Street, past the Remigino home, past the G. Fox Building to the Hartford Times portico. Lindy rode in a Cadillac convertible with his mom and his fiancee, waving as people chanted his name.