PITTSBURG -- Eddie Hart's legs took him all over the world. His conscience brought him home again.
Hart, who grew up in Pittsburg and became an Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter, held a track clinic for approximately 100 kids at Pittsburg High School on Saturday. It was the eighth such event he has held, all under the banner of his All In One Foundation, established 10 years ago to help disadvantaged kids in and around his hometown.
"My career wouldn't have been what it was without the support I got," said Hart, still trim as a sprinter at 64. "I had excellent coaching. From some I got coaching and technique, and from some I got life skills and psychology. So it's important to give back and not let this information die with me, but to share."
Hart called on 10 former Olympians and world-class track and field athletes to help instruct the clinic. Long jumper Randy Williams won gold in the 1972 Games and silver in 1976. Millard Hampton won a silver medal in the 200 meters and a relay gold in 1976. Tom Hill won bronze in the 110-meter hurdles in 1972.
Hart was on the winning 400-meter relay team in 1972, but is equally well known for being disqualified from the 100 meters competition when he missed his semifinal race because a U.S. coach was consulting an outdated schedule.
Asked if kids today remember his athletic career, Hart said, "In some cases yes, and in some cases no. You know how it goes in most cases," he said, smiling. " 'Are you the guy who missed that race?'"
Among the participants at Saturday's event were members of the East County Cheetahs, coached by Charlotte Sneed.
"It's great," she said, surveying the football field where the kids had been broken up into groups -- sprinters, hurdlers, high jumpers, pole vaulters, throwers. "(Hart) reaches out to children and teaches them the basics of track and field. This gives them a chance to see Olympians, even if they're from the past."
Hart agrees that there seem to be a lot of past track stars interested in giving back, and he thinks he knows why.
"We come from a different mindset," he said. "If I had been born 40 years later, I'd probably be a millionaire right now. When we were running track, it was an amateur sport. They gave us $2-a-day per diem. So it was about the love for the sport. It wasn't about money. These kids today who are running track, they're so self-centered that unless you give them 10 or 20 grand to compete somewhere, they won't even run. Now it's a business. Back then it was fun."
George Carty, who ran track for San Jose State in the late 1960s and coached at Saturday's clinic, said his friend has always been highly motivated, on and off the track.
"When Eddie came along, we knew he was going to be fast," Carty said. "We just didn't know how badly he wanted to be fast."
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.