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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 recordholder in the, now rarely run 440-yard hurdles,[1] the predecessor to the 400 hurdles of today, but just over seven feet 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. ^,2119511 Rome News-Tribune - Jun 15, 1975
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-28. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)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. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2008-06-13. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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Preceded by
  John Akii-Bua
Men's 400 m Hurdles Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
  Edwin Moses