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James Lightbody

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Title: James Lightbody  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: United States at the 1904 Summer Olympics, List of Olympic medalists in athletics (men), Athletics at the 1904 Summer Olympics – Men's 1500 metres, 1500 metres at the Olympics, Athletics at the 1904 Summer Olympics – Men's 4 miles team race
Collection: 1882 Births, 1953 Deaths, American Middle-Distance Runners, American Steeplechase Runners, Athletes (Track and Field) at the 1904 Summer Olympics, Athletes (Track and Field) at the 1906 Intercalated Games, Athletes (Track and Field) at the 1908 Summer Olympics, Olympic Gold Medalists for the United States, Olympic Medalists in Athletics (Track and Field), Olympic Silver Medalists for the United States, Olympic Track and Field Athletes of the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

James Lightbody


James Lightbody
Medal record
Men's athletics
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1904 St. Louis 800 metres
Gold medal – first place 1904 St. Louis 1500 metres
Gold medal – first place 1904 St. Louis 2590 m Steeplechase
Competitor for a Mixed team
Silver medal – second place 1904 St. Louis Four Mile Team
1906 Intercalated Games
Gold medal – first place 1906 Athens 1500 metres
Silver medal – second place 1906 Athens 800 metres
Lacey Hearn, James Lightbody, Mike Butler and Frank Verner at the 1904 Olympic Games

James Davies "Jim" Lightbody (March 16, 1882 – March 2, 1953) was an American middle distance runner, winner of six Olympic medals (two of which are no longer recognized by the International Olympic Committee following its downgrading of the 1906 Summer Olympics) in the early 20th century.

Lightbody, born in Pittsburgh and graduating from high school in Muncie, Indiana, had great success at the 1904 Summer Olympics, held in St. Louis. He wasn't favoured in any of the three individual events in which he competed, but nevertheless won all three of them.

First, he won the 2590 metre steeplechase, sprinting to the 800 metres title days later. Finally, he won the 1500 metres in a new world record. Later that day, he added a second place to his tally, when he competed with the Chicago Athletic Association in the 4 mile team event.

In 1905, Lightbody won AAU titles in both the 800 and 1500 metres, and the following year he competed in his second Olympics, the Intercalated Games of 1906 in Athens. He successfully defended his 1500 metres title, and placed second in the 800 metres.

Lightbody competed again in the 1908 Summer Olympics. In the 800 metres, he placed only fourth in his first round heat. Lightbody lost a close race to fellow American James Sullivan in the first round of the 1500 metres, eliminating him from further competition. He was defeated by a mere ten yards by Harry Sewell in the first round of the 3200 metre steeplechase and did not qualify for the final.

Lightbody died in 1953, two weeks short of his 71st birthday in Charleston, South Carolina.


  • James Lightbody's profile at Sports
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