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Jim Ryun

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJames Ronald "Jim"•Ryun
Used nameJim•Ryun
Born29 April 1947 in Wichita, Kansas (USA)
Measurements188 cm / 76 kg
AffiliationsClub West
NOC(s) United States


Although undoubtedly the finest middle distance runner of his time, Jim Ryun failed three times to add his name to the roll of Olympic champions. When the 17-year-old Ryun made his Olympic début in 1964 he had already run the first sub-four minute mile by a schoolboy, but in Tokyo he disappointed by finishing last in his 1,500 m semi-final. By the time of the Mexico Games, Ryun held the world records at 880 y, 1,500 m, and the mile, but in the Olympic final he was outwitted and outrun by Kip Keino of Kenya. Such was Ryun’s talent that the world records he had set in 1967 for 1,500 m and the mile were still intact when he made his third Olympic appearance in 1972. Tragically, he was tripped in his 1,500 m heat and his silver medal would remain his sole Olympic reward after dominating his specialty for many seasons. Domestically, Ryun fared better, winning the AAU mile for three years straight from 1965 and the NCAA mile for Kansas in 1967. After his graduation, Ryun began a career as a photojournalist, but also operated running camps and ran several businesses. In 1994 he entered politics and served 10 years in the U.S. Congress as a Republican Representative from Kansas, from 1996-2007.

Personal Bests: 800 – 1:44.2y (1966); 1500 – 3:33.1 (1967); Mile – 3:51.1 (1967); 2 miles – 8:25.2 (1966); 5000 – 13:38.2 (1972).


Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Representing 2nd NOC As
1964 Summer Olympics Athletics 1,500 metres, Men Olympic 9 h1 r2/3 USA Jim Ryun
1968 Summer Olympics Athletics 1,500 metres, Men Olympic 2 Silver USA Jim Ryun
1972 Summer Olympics Athletics 1,500 metres, Men Olympic 9 h4 r1/3 USA Jim Ryun

Special Notes