Former Olympic medalist and high school coach Danny Harris accused of sexual offense against a minor

Danny Harris, shown in 2008, was a silver medalist in the 400 hurdles at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Former Olympic track star Danny Harris — who had recently been a coach at Gabrielino High School — was arrested Friday on suspicion of contacting a minor with the intent of committing a sexual offense, authorities said.

The San Gabriel Police Department said it launched an investigation following a report of alleged inappropriate contacts between Harris and a student.

“The school district and the police department are working together to ensure [that] the safety of students remains of utmost importance,” police said in a statement. “We will continue to work closely together as this issue moves forward.”

Harris could not be reached for comment.

A silver medalist in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, Harris is the subject of a recent documentary film, “Crossing the Line,” that chronicles his well-known journey from elite athlete to drug addict and back.

The San Gabriel Unified School District relieved him of his duties on May 17, police said.


Twelve days earlier, The Times had followed the 51-year-old as he coached the boys’ and girls’ teams at a league track meet, working with athletes before races and later celebrating with them on the track.

“Did I expect to be back in the game?” he said at the time. “No. But when you love it, you want to teach, you want to give something back.”

During a stretch of the 1980s and ’90s, Harris ranked among the top hurdlers in the world. In 1987, he ended Edwin Moses’ decadelong winning streak in the 400-meter hurdles.

Follow @LAtimesWharton on Twitter