Bobby Joe Morrow wins the 100m race at Melbourne 1956 ©Getty Images

Sprinting great Bobby Joe Morrow, who won three gold medals at the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games, has passed away at the age of 84.

Morrow won the 100 metres, 200m and 4x100m relay titles for the United States, running the anchor leg in the relay as the American team set a new world record of 39.5 seconds.

Morrow's time in the 200m final - 20.6 sec - tied the world record at the time.

He was only the second man to win an Olympic sprint triple crown, following Jesse Owens, and only two have done it since - Carl Lewis and Jamaica's Usain Bolt.

Like Morrow, Owens and Lewis represented the US.

Born and raised in Texas, 20-year-old Morrow was a student at Abilene Christian University (ACU) at the time of his Olympic glory and had shortly before swept the sprint races at the national collegiate championships.

His heroics in 1956 saw him win Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year award.

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Morrow set more records in the two years that followed but retired in 1958, focusing instead on farming and woodwork.

He finished with a record of 80 wins from 88 individual races at ACU as is credited by World Athletics with setting 11 ratified world records. 

Despite a brief comeback attempt in 1960, he never again competed at an Olympic Games.

Morrow was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1975 and the US Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame in 1989.

San Benito High School, which Morrow attended, previously named an 11,000-seat sports facility after him.