James Doyle Bolding, II (November 3, 1949 – July 31, 2011) was an American track and field athlete, primarily known for the 400 metres hurdles.

He is the current world record holder in the now rarely run 440-yard hurdles,[1] the predecessor to the current 400 metre hurdles (the 440 yard event is 2.336m, or seven feet eight inches, longer in distance).[2]

Over the more conventional 400 hurdles, Bolding was ranked in the top ten in the world 5 times from 1972 to 1976, achieving the #1 ranking in 1974 and trailing only the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder John Akii-Bua.[3] In 1974 he was named United States Olympic Committee "Male Athlete of the Year."[2][4]


Bolding was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was a 1968 graduate of U. S. Grant High School in Oklahoma City. He then went to Oklahoma State University where he won two NCAA Championships.[4] Bolding was 6th at the 1972 Olympic Trials while still in college. Between Olympics he was the U.S. National Champion in 1973 (440 yard hurdles) and 1974 (400 metres hurdles).[5] In 1974, on tour, he also won the French national championship.[6] At the end of the season, he was on the August 1974 cover of Track and Field News captioned "Bolding Burns Barriers."[7] In the 1976 Olympic Trials, he was in the lead at the halfway point going into a strong wind on the backstretch, but was passed by upstart Edwin Moses around the turn. Maintaining second until over the last hurdle, he "almost crumpled" and was passed by Mike Shine and a fast closing Quintin Wheeler into a non-qualifying fourth place. Moses and Shine would finish 1–2 in the Olympics.[8]

Bolding died, aged 61, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He is a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.[4]


  1. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=348&dat=19750615&id=lgQuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=OjMDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3217,2119511 Rome News-Tribune - Jun 15, 1975
  2. ^ a b "James Bolding Obituary - OK | Oklahoman".
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-02-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2008-06-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "French Championships".
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-04-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ http://www.legacy.usatf.org/statistics/champions/OlympicTrials/HistoryOfTheOlympicTrials.pdf
Awards Preceded by John Akii-Bua Men's 400 m Hurdles Best Year Performance1974-1975 Succeeded by Edwin Moses