Rolf Harmsen attended Gallaudet for only one year,
and ran sprints with the track team in 1923. At
the Penn Relays that season, he won the 100 yard
dash (in these days, college track was based on
yards, not meters). He was clocked at 9.6 by
two judges and 9.8 by three judges (five judges
altogether). After some discussion between
these judges, the time was changed from 9.6 to
9.8. If it was 9.6, he would have broken the
world’s record. At any rate, he was the first
deaf sprinter to run 100 yards under 10.0 seconds.
In these days, times were hand-timed; no electronic
timing devices. And there were no starting blocks,
no hard surfaces.
He never again ran track after leaving college!