James Sullivan (athlete)

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James Sullivan
James Sullivan, Louis Tewanima, Robert Cloughen 1908.jpg
James Sullivan, Lewis Tewanima and Robert Cloughen in 1908
Personal information
BornJune 29, 1885
DiedApril 9, 1965(1965-04-09) (aged 79)
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight68 kg (150 lb)
Event(s)1500–5000 m
ClubI-AAC, Queens
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)1500 m – 4:03.0e (1908)
Mile – 4:22.0 (1905)
5000 m – 15:34.2 (1909)[1][2]

James Patrick Sullivan (June 29, 1885 – April 9, 1965) was an American middle-distance runner and member of the Irish American Athletic Club. He competed in the 1906 Intercalated Games in Athens and the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.

He was known as "4:22 Jim" for being the first native-born American to run the mile in the fast time of 4 minutes and 22 seconds at the Metropolitan Championships held at Travers Island in 1905. He had been regarded as a promising walker in school, but was advised by a school coach to concentrate on running. In the 1906 Intercalated Games he finished fifth in the 1500 m competition. He also participated in the 800 m event, but he was eliminated in the first round.[1] In 1907 Sullivan won the Senior National Amateur Athletic Union championship, and in the same year won the Military Athletic League title and the KPMG title at the same distance.[3]

In the 1908 Summer Olympics, 1500 m competition, Sullivan won his first-round heat with a time of 4:07.6, winning a closely contested heat, defeating defending champion James Lightbody. In 1909 Sullivan won the three-mile Canadian Championship held at Montreal, and pulled two tendons in his right ankle, which put him out of competition for the indoor season of 1909–1910. Sullivan was using swimming as a non-impact physiotherapy training when he was advised to compete in a triathlon once rehabilitated. He competed in a few triathlons, placing well in the triathy, but had a recurrence of the tendon problem and had to retire from sport altogether. As well as being an athlete Sullivan was known to have an interest in Pool and Billiards, winning The Manly Cup in its inaugural year.

He retired from competition in 1912, and in 1913, married Grace Burke. They had two children, Richard and Elise. He worked as a clerk for the Kings County Court, a position he held until 1958.


  1. ^ a b James Sullivan Archived 2011-09-15 at the Wayback Machine.. sports-reference.com
  2. ^ James P. Sullivan. trackfield.brinkster.net
  3. ^ 1910 Hassan Cigarettes trading card. wingedfist.com


  • Cook, Theodore Andrea (May 1909). The Fourth Olympiad London 1908 Official Report (PDF). London: British Olympic Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  • De Wael, Herman (2001). "Athletics 1908". Herman's Full Olympians.
  • Greenberg, Stan (1987). Olympic Games: The Records. London: Guinness Books. ISBN 0-85112-896-3.
  • Kieran, John (1977). The Story of the Olympic Games; 776 B.C. to 1976. Philadelphia and New York: J.B. Lippincott Company. ISBN 0-397-01168-7.
  • Wudarski, Pawel (1999). "Wyniki Igrzysk Olimpijskich" (in Polish). Retrieved 27 July 2006.
  • James P. Sullivan, Irish-American Olympian, from the Archives of Irish America – NYU

External links[edit]