This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996
Hector Denis Hogan (1931-1960), sprinter and refrigeration mechanic, was born on 15 July 1931 at Rockhampton, Queensland, youngest of three children of George Michael Hogan, a labourer who became a storekeeper, and his wife Mary McGeraghty, née Shields, both Queensland born. Hector grew up at Nudgee Beach, Brisbane, and was educated at Marist Brothers' College, Rosalie. He served a five-year apprenticeship as a refrigeration mechanic, riding his bicycle fifteen miles (24 km) to and from his workplace. His athletic ability was noticed at a Young Christian Workers' carnival at New Farm Park and, soon after joining the Brothers' Amateur Athletic Club in 1948, he had several successes in junior ranks. In 1951 he became Queensland Open sprint champion. Next year at the Australian Amateur Athletic Championships in Brisbane he won the 100-yards event in 9.6 seconds, equalling the Australian residential record. The race was controversial because Hogan burst from the blocks to gain an early lead and this characteristic lightning start led to his nickname, 'Hustling Hec'. He came second to John Treloar at the Olympic selection trials and was disappointed not to be selected for the 1952 Olympic Games, held in Helsinki.
Five ft 7 ins (170 cm) tall, stocky and weighing 11 stone (70 kg), Hogan was a versatile performer who competed in the long and triple jumps, and in the 220 yards (200 metres), but it was in the 100-yards and 100-metres events that he excelled. After equalling the world record for the 100 yards (9.3 seconds) and 100 metres (10.2 seconds) on a grass track in Sydney in March 1954, he was confident 'There will be no holding me'. He won the bronze medal in the 100 yards (9.7 seconds) at the Empire Games at Vancouver, Canada, and was fifth in both the 220 yards and the long jump. On 11 June 1955 at St Paul's Presbyterian Church, Brisbane, he married Maureen Salmon, a hairdresser and daughter of his manager. They moved to Melbourne where Hec prepared for the 1956 Olympic Games. He won both his heats in the 100 metres (10.5 seconds) at the Olympics; in the final he had one of his best starts, but 'went so fast I lost my balance at about 30 metres'. Hogan finished third (10.6 seconds), becoming the first Australian male sprinter to win an Olympic medal since Stan Rowley at the 1900 Games.
Before the Melbourne Olympics, Hogan had suffered from undiagnosed tiredness and loss of strength. Although he won the national 100-yards championship in 1957 and 1958, to capture seven national titles in succession, he unexpectedly failed to qualify for the 100-yards final at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958. He gained a bronze medal, however, as a member of the 4 x 110-yards relay team. On returning to Australia, he moved to Bowen, Queensland, to manage a hotel owned by Maureen's father. When Hogan's health rapidly deteriorated, leukaemia was diagnosed. Survived by his wife and 4-year-old son, he died on 2 September 1960 in Brisbane Hospital and was buried with Anglican rites in Nudgee cemetery.
Ian F. Jobling, 'Hogan, Hector Denis (1931–1960)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hogan-hector-denis-10516/text18663, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 29 May 2015.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996