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James Butts

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJames Aaron•Butts
Used nameJames•Butts
Born9 May 1950 in South Los Angeles, California (USA)
Measurements188 cm / 82 kg
AffiliationsTobias Striders
NOC(s) United States


James Butts took the NCAA triple jump in 1972 while at UCLA, but did not win his first and only AAU title until 1978. In placing second at the Montréal Games he became the first U.S. athlete to win an Olympic triple jump medal since Levi Casey in 1928. Butts also narrowly missed making the Olympic team in 1972 and 1980 when he placed fourth in the Final Trials on both occasions. He also placed third in the 1979 Pan American Games. After graduation in 1974, Butts represented the Tobias Striders. While training for the Montréal Olympics, Butts worked two jobs to help support himself, his mother, and a sister, forcing him to do his daily workout at 5:00 AM.

Personal Best: TJ – 56-6¾ (17.24) (1978).


Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Representing 2nd NOC As
1976 Summer Olympics Athletics Triple Jump, Men Olympic 2 Silver USA James Butts

Special Notes