James Butts

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James Butts
Personal information
Full name James Aaron Butts
Born May 9, 1950 (1950-05-09) (age 67)
South Los Angeles, California, U.S.

James Aaron Butts (born May 9, 1950) is an American former athlete who competed mainly in the triple jump. He was born in South Los Angeles, California.

He competed as part of the United States team in the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in the triple jump where he won the Silver medal. He was the first American medalist in the event at the Olympics since Levi Casey has also claimed silver in 1928.

Butts won the U.S. Olympic Trials with a wind aided 17.29, just short of the existing world record at the time. He narrowly missed making the team in 1972 and again in 1980, finishing in 4th place each time (the last time by a mere 1/4 of an inch-1 cm).[1]

Butts won the 1972 NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championships while competing for the UCLA. 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 a.m as it was the only time that fit his schedule.

Butts is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Butts currently resides in Southern California and is the father of four. He was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame on October 11, 2014.