Cliff Wiley
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)100 m: 010.21 s (Lawrence, USA; 23/04/1977)

200 m: 20.39 s (Zurich, SWI; 15/08/1979)
400 m: 44.70 s (Sacramento, USA; 21/06/1981)
4x100 m;38.03 s WR (Düsseldorf, GER; 03/09/1997)

4x400 m;2.59.12 (Rome, ITA; 06/09/1981)[1]

Clifford 'Cliff' Wiley (born May 21, 1955) is a former American track and field athlete, who competed in the sprints events during his career. He is best known for winning the men's 400 metres event at the 1981 Athletics World Cup in Rome and the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas.

Track career

Wiley originally competed at the 100 and 200 m events but later moved up to compete more successfully at the 400 m. A two-time USA National Champion at 400m, in 1981 and 1982,[2] Wiley set his personal best (44.70) in the 400 metres on 21 June 1981 in Sacramento.[3] Wiley competed for his college, the University of Kansas, in the short sprints but did run 400 m relay legs, and it was his success at the latter that led his track coach, Bob Timmons, to believe this would be his best event.[4]

He was also a world record holder in the 4x100-meter relay (Bill Collins-Steve Riddick-Cliff Wiley-Steve Williams), as part of the winning USA team at the 1977 Athletics World Cup with a time of 38.03 s – an event statistician Mark Butler for the IAAF puts in his top 10 men's World Cup moments.[5][6]

In 1979 Wiley was a member of the winning 4 × 100 m United States relay team at the 1979 Pan American Games[7]

In 1981, Wiley at 400 m because USA Champion, winner of the World Student Games and the IAAF World Cup. He was also number one ranked in the world at the event.

In 1983 Wiley became United States champion indoors at 440 y.[8] and won the Pan-American Games title at 400 m.

Wiley never ran in the Olympics. Having qualified as second in the 200 m at the US Olympic Trials in 1980, he was denied participation at the 1980 Moscow Olympics because of the USA boycott. In 1984, a contender in the 400 m, his chances at the Olympic Trials were ruined by injury, he could only reach the quarter-final stage. He had also run in the 1976 Olympic Trials in the 100 and 200m reaching the quarter-final stage at both events.[9]

Personal life

Wiley attended Douglass High School in Baltimore.

After graduation, he went to the University of Kansas, attending the law school there. A successful athlete during his time there - he won All-America honors 13 times and was part of the team that won the NCAA indoor title in the 1,600 relay in 1977.[10] This success was later recognised by him being inducted into the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame.[11] Wiley was always more than just an athlete, during his time at university, for instance, he served as leader of the Black American Law Students Association.[12] During his time at the University of Kansas, Wiley was involved in a case against the NCAA over his personal funding. He was awarded an injunction that allowed him to continue to compete. The case was eventually dismissed (after Wiley had graduated) but it did lead to a voluntary rule change by the NCAA.[10]

After leaving college, Wiley settled in Kansas City, Kansas, and became a lawyer.[13]

Wiley organised an annual running event, the Cliff Wiley Track Classic, in Baltimore to give something back to his home area.[14][15] This has been superseded by the International Youth track and Field Championships that Wiley also helps organise.[10]

An experienced track coach and meet organiser in his local area, in 2004 he was appointed head manager of Team USA at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Italy.[16]

Wiley is very interested in the organization of track and field and has spoken up for a clean, ethical sport. As he has stated 'When you're on drugs or counting on drugs, what kind of example are you setting?'[17] Another example is when he spoke out against the athletes who withdrew from the 1983 Pan-American Games[18] when the nature of the new drug-testing regime became clear.[19]

In 2021, Wiley was involved in the launch of the Topeka Super Indoor Invitational at Washburn University.[20]

Wiley has spoken that as a child his dreams were to "Run in the Olympics, and be the mayor of Baltimore City."[12] He may yet achieve his second dream but the first was denied by the USA boycott in 1980 and has left a painful memory. As a member of the 1980 team he was invited to the White House to meet President Jimmy Carter. Wiley has said of meeting the President, "I respected the situation, but I guess I wanted to tell him that he was fighting with the wrong instrument. I heard all of this talk about sacrifice. I thought making a sacrifice was a voluntary thing."[12]


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing the  United States
1977 IAAF World Cup Düsseldorf, Germany 1st 4x100 metres
1979 Pan American Games San Juan, Puerto Rico 1st 4x100 metres
1981 World Student Games Bucharest, Romania 1st 400 meters
IAAF World Cup Rome, Italy 1st 400 meters
IAAF World Cup Rome, Italy 1st 4x400 meters
1983 Pan American Games Caracas, Venezuela 1st 400 metres


Wiley was ranked among the best in the US and the world in both the 200 and 400 m sprint events from 1977 to 1983, according to the votes of the experts of Track and Field News.[21][22][23][24]

USA Championships

Wiley was a very successful competitor at both 200 and 400 m in the USA National Track and Field Championships between 1977 and 1983.:[2]

See also


  1. ^ All-time best 4x400m relay. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Track & Field News: A History of the Results of the National Track & Field Championships of the USA from 1876 Through 2003". Archived from the original on 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2012-06-17. A History Of The Results Of The National Track & Field Championships Of The USA From 1876 Through 2003, Track and Field News, Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  3. ^ IAAF athletes biographies - Cliff Wiley. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  4. ^[permanent dead link] T&F N Interview: Cliff Wiley, Jon Henderschott, October 1981.
  5. ^ "News | World Athletics". Retrieved 2022-07-29.
  6. ^ 1977 World Cup 4x100m relay - men on YouTube
  7. ^ "US planning to leave Pan Am games in style", Galveston Daily News, July 16, 1979.
  8. ^ USA Indoor Track & Field Champions, Men's 400 m, USA Track and Field.
  9. ^ The History of the United States Olympic Trials - Track & Field, R Hymans, USA Track & Field, 2008
  10. ^ a b c Palmer, Tod (28 June 2021). "Dream denied: 1980 Olympic qualifier Cliff Wiley reflects on boycott". Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Kansas Jayhawks". Kansas Jayhawks. Retrieved 2022-07-29.
  12. ^ a b c 'Ache that won't quit', Paul McMullen, The Baltimore Sun, August 11, 2000.
  13. ^ 'Wiley's Track Legacy Lives On ', Keith Mills, Press Box, July 21, 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Cliff Wiley Track Classic". Archived from the original on 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2012-03-11. Cliff Wiley Track Classic. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  15. ^ 'Wiley keeps faith with his annual youth meet, Kate Crandall', The Baltimore Sun, July 16, 2005.
  16. ^ " » Cliff Wiley: 'Time is near that USATF needs to break up'". Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2012-03-18. Cliff Wiley: ‘Time is near that USATF needs to break up’, Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  17. ^ Litsky, Frank (1983-08-28). "USE OF STEROIDS: DISCOVERY IN THE FACE OF DISBELIEF". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-07-29.
  18. ^ 'Caracas: A Scandal And A Warning', Craig Neff, Sports Illustrated, Sep 5 1983.
  19. ^ "Lawrence Journal-World - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2022-07-29.
  20. ^ Martin, Danielle (1 December 2021). "A two-time Olympic qualifier is among those bringing a new inaugural track-and-field competition to Topeka". 13WIBW. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  21. ^ "World Rankings Index--Men's 200 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  22. ^ "U.S. Rankings Index--Men's 200 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-13. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  23. ^ "World Rankings Index--Men's 400 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  24. ^ "U.S. Rankings Index--Men's 400 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-13. Retrieved 2012-03-23.