Jim Bailey

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJames John "Jim"•Bailey
Used nameJim•Bailey
Born21 July 1929 in Sydney, New South Wales (AUS)
Died31 March 2020 in Bellingham, Washington (USA)
Measurements178 cm / 69 kg
AffiliationsOregon Ducks, Eugene (USA)
NOC Australia


Jim Bailey was primarily a two-lap runner who won two Australian national titles in the 880 yards in 1951 and 1954. Bailey also finished ninth at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games 880 yards. He then came to the United States to run at the University of Oregon, where he mostly moved up the 1,500/Mile. He won the 1955 NCAA Championship in the mile and was second in 1956, over 1,500 metres. But he ran the 800 metres at the 1956 Olympics and did not advance out of the semi-finals.

Bailey was ranked #3 in the world for the 1,500/Mile in 1956. In May of that year, a special mile race was run in conjunction with the USC-UCLA dual meet at the Los Angeles Coliseum, featuring John Landy. Bailey was supposed to be a rabbit for Landy during that race, but he held on to his shoulder and moved past him on the final lap to win in 3:58.6. This was the first 4-minute mile run on US soil.

Bailey returned to Australia and played professional rugby for a bit. But he later returned to the United States and lived in the Pacific Northwest for the rest of his life, initially working as a manufacturer’s rep in sportswear in Kirkland, Washington. He later moved to Bellingham, Washington where he sold real estate.

Personal Bests: 800 – 1:48.8 (1956); 1500 – 3:43.3 (1956); Mile – 3:58.6 (1956).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1956 Summer Olympics Athletics AUS Jim Bailey
800 metres, Men (Olympic) 7 h2 r2/3
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) DNS