James Wilson (athlete)

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James Wilson
James Wilson 1920.jpg
James Wilson at the 1920 Olympics
Personal information
Born 2 October 1891
Windsor, Berkshire, England[1]
Died 1973 (aged c. 81)
London Borough of Brent, Great Britain
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 60 kg (130 lb)
Sport Athletics
Event(s) 10,000 m
Club Greenock Glenpark Harriers
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) Mile – 4:28.0 (1915)
4 miles – 20:22.4 (1920)
6 miles – 30:45.0 (1920)
10,000 m – 31:50.8 (1920)
10 miles – 52:04.4 (1920)[2][3]

James Wilson (2 October 1891 – 1973) was a Scottish long-distance runner who specialised in the 10,000 metres. He competed for Great Britain at the 1920 Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal in the 10,000 metres, five seconds behind Paavo Nurmi; Wilson beat Nurmi by some 5 seconds in the heats. He finished fourth in the individual 8,000 m cross-country race, again behind Nurmi, but won a silver medal with the British team. Nationally Wilson won Scottish titles over 4 miles in 1914–20 and over 10 miles in 1920.[2]

James and his twin brother John were the youngest of five children of Isabella and Robert Wilson, Scottish migrant workers in England. His father was a herdsman from Aberdeenshire. James and John were inspired to join the local athletics club by watching the 1908 Olympic marathon race that passed nearby their home. Later, when World War I broke out, John enlisted to the army and died from peritonitis in 1916, while James stayed at home earning his living as a metalworker. After the 1920 Olympics he found a job as mechanical engineer at the Neasden Power Station, which provided electricity to the Metropolitan Railways, and semi-retired from running. He resumed competing in 1923, when he joined Surrey Athletic Club, but never regained his past shape and retired for good in 1925.[1]

Wilson was married to Annie Williams. He died from a bowel cancer aged 81–82.[1]


  1. ^ a b c James Wilson. anentscottishrunning.com. 13 August 2013
  2. ^ a b James Wilson. sports-reference.com
  3. ^ James Wilson. trackfield.brinkster.net