|Born||21 September 1952|
In 1978, Gilkes was denied a world record for the 4x200 m relay; while the Tobias Striders team he was a member of broke the old world record with a time of 1:20.23, but this was rejected as a record because the team members were from different countries. The other members of the team were: Guy Abrahams, Panama; Michael Simmons, USA; and Don Quarrie, Jamaica.
The team from the University of Southern California (Joel Andrews, James Sanford, William Mullins and Clancy Edwards) that finished second in the same race also broke the old world record: their time of 1:20.26 was accepted as the new world record.
In 1979 he took 3rd place in the "Golden sprints" in Zurich.
Gilkes would have been a medal favorite in the 200m (which Don Quarrie won) at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, but Guyana joined the African boycott over New Zealand's rugby team's tour of apartheid South Africa. He applied to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for permission to run as an individual under their flag but was denied the request. He also went to the 1980 Olympic Games where he reached the semi-finals of both the 100 and 200 metres before he was eliminated.
His personal best time for the 200 metres was 20.14 seconds, achieved in September 1978 in Ingelheim.
Gilkes studied first at Fisk University then moved to the University of Southern California (USC). He was an important member of the track team at both colleges. As of 2012, Gilkes was still ranked in the top 10 all-time performers for the USC Trojans at 100 and 200 m, joint 7th and 4th respectively.
- 1974 (for Fisk) - 6th in 100 y; 1st in 220 y
- 1975 (for USC) - 2nd in 200 m
- 1976 (for USC) - 3rd in 100 m; 2nd in 200m.
Gilkes joined Fisk University when it started a student transfer program with his native country of Guyana in 1972. Gilkes remained at Fisk University until 1974 when he transferred to USC. He has stated he was not unhappy at Fisk but did not enjoy the Tennessee weather and preferred the sunnier climes of California.
Gilkes when in the United States was eligible at that time to compete in the USA National Track and Field Championships. He achieved the feat of finishing second in the 200 m five years running!
- James Gilkes at IAAF
- http://ccwllc.net/foga/id10.html James Gilkes, Friends of Guyana Athletics, Spotlight Corner.
- Progression of IAAF World Records 2011 Edition, Editor Imre Matrahazi, IAAF Athletics, p 137.
- http://www.nbcolympics.com/nations/nation=guyana/library/tabs/_nationTradition.html Guyana: Olympic tradition. www.nbcolympics.com. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- https://newspaperarchive.com/lethbridge-herald/1976-07-26/page-12/ "James Wilkes deserved to compete in Olympics" (sic), Dave Anderson, New York Times Service, Lethbridge Herald, July 26, 1976, p 12.
- http://www.stabroeknews.com/2008/opinion/editorial/08/15/james-gilkes-a-lost-opportunity/ "James Gilkes: A lost opportunity", Stabroek News, August 15, 2008.
- http://www.usctrojans.com/sports/m-otrack/archive/usc-m-otrack-top10.html "USC Men's Top 10 Performers", The Official Site of USC Trojan Athletics. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/images/stories/tfn_pdfs/ncaa_history_pdfs/ncaam100.pdf 100 Metres, A History of the NCAA Championships, Track and Field News.
- http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/images/stories/tfn_pdfs/ncaa_history_pdfs/ncaam200.pdf 200 Metres, A History of the NCAA Championships, Track and Field News.
- https://books.google.com/books?id=uI8DAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA50&lpg=PA50&dq=james+gilkes+fisk+university&source=bl&ots=cEbtbd0g3p&sig=kk5QhnnUUmG0E6CXqRiwrsylHxE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=RFt8UKbODMiW0QWcvIHgDA&ved=0CE4Q6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=james%20gilkes%20fisk%20university&f=false "Hayes's Record Falls At South Carolina Track Meet", Jet, May 2, 1974.
- https://newspaperarchive.com/press-telegram/1975-02-21/page-38/ "Trojans '75 NCAA Track Contenders", John Dexon, Press Telegram, February 21, 1975.
- https://newspaperarchive.com/press-telegram/1975-06-03/page-23/ "Ryan for whom the bell tolls", Don Merry, Press Telegram, June 3, 1975.
- https://newspaperarchive.com/press-telegram/1975-06-03/page-23/ "Fisk? Gilkes couldn't leave fast enough", Gary Kausch, Press Telegram, June 3, 1975, p 23.
- "World Rankings Index--Men's 100 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News.
- "World Rankings Index--Men's 200 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News.
- A History Of The Results Of The National Track & Field Championships Of The USA From 1876 Through 2003 Archived 2013-06-09 at the Wayback Machine., Track and Field News.