James Owens

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJames Earl•Owens
Used nameJames•Owens
Born5 July 1955 in Sacramento, California (USA)
Measurements183 cm / 80 kg
AffiliationsMaccabi Track Club, Los Angeles (USA)
NOC United States


James Owens was AAU and NCAA high hurdles champion in 1977. At the AAU meet he also finished second in 1976, and was runner-up at the NCAAs in 1975-76. He competed for UCLA and the Maccabi TC.

In the United States Owens was better known as a running back in football for UCLA, where he was voted team MVP in 1977 and Outstanding Senior in 1978. He played for six years in the NFL, with the San Francisco 49ers in 1979-80, who drafted him in the second round, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1981-84. In the NFL he played mostly running back, with some time spent at wide receiver and defensive back, but he was best known for his kickoff return prowess. A serious knee injury sustained on a kickoff return ended his football career.

After football and track, Owens became a behavior health specialist, working at various hospitals and helping those in need. He also did motivational speaking and volunteered with Special Olympics World Games. Owens was inducted into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame.

Personal Bests: 100 – 10.47 (1977); 110H – 13.46 (1977).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1976 Summer Olympics Athletics USA James Owens
110 metres Hurdles, Men (Olympic) 6

Special Notes