James Butts
Butts at the 1976 Olympics
Personal information
Full nameJames Aaron Butts
BornMay 9, 1950 (1950-05-09) (age 74)
South Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Height188 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight82 kg (181 lb)
EventTriple jump
ClubTobias Striders
Achievements and titles
Personal best17.24 m (1978)[1][2]
Medal record
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1976 Montreal Triple jump
Pan American Games
Bronze medal – third place 1979 San Juan Triple jump

James Aaron Butts (born May 9, 1950) is a retired American triple jumper. He won a silver medal at the 1976 Olympics and a bronze at the 1979 Pan American Games.[1] He was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.

Butts won the 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials with a wind-aided 17.29 m, just short of the existing world record at the time. He narrowly missed making the team in 1972 and again in 1980, finishing in fourth place each time (the last time by a mere 1 cm).[2][3]

Butts won the 1972 NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships while competing for the University of California at Los Angeles. While training for the Olympics, he worked two jobs including as a janitor, to support his mother and sister. He had to train at 5 am as it was the only time that fit his schedule.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "James Butts". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011.
  2. ^ a b James Butts. trackfield.brinkster.net
  3. ^ Hymans, Richard (2004) The history of the U.S. Olympic trials : track & field Archived March 27, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. USA Track & Field