Although he never won a major championship at home, James Rector of the University of Virginia proved to be the fastest U.S. sprinter at the London Olympics, finishing only one meter behind the winner, Reggie Walker of South Africa, in the 100m. The week before the Olympics had seen Rector approached by the South African coach, who asked him to teach Walker the faster crouch start used by the Americans. In a great gesture of fair play, Rector did not hesitate but spent the next day tutoring his soon-to-be conqueror. Earlier in 1908, Rector was clocked at 9.4 for 100y, but this rather dubious mark was never accorded record status because it was made in an unsanctioned meet. He became a lawyer, practicing in St. Louis for 30 years, before returning to his native Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Personal Best: 100 – 10.8 (1908).