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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

JAMES A. BALL

Inducted in 1959

Member Details

Date of Birth: May 7, 1903
Place of Birth: Dauphin, Manitoba
Date of Passing: July 2, 1988
Sport: Athletics
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1927

Canadian Championships - first place 400m (quarter-mile) race and 1600m (one-mile) relay

1928

Twice broke Canadian 400m record at Olympic trials (49.4 and 48.6s)

Amsterdam Olympics Games - Silver medal for 400m race 

1929

Indoor Championship, Toronto - Broke Canadian record for 300 yard race at with time of 33 seconds

1932

Los Angeles Olympic Games - Bronze medal for 1600m relay

1933

Norton H. Crowe trophy - outstanding athletic performance and sportsmanship

Honoured Member JAMES A. BALL
Inspire

Story

Any runner would have been thrilled to have had Jimmy Ball on his relay team. In the late 1920s and early '30s, Ball was Canada's best quarter mile (400m) runner, the holder of numerous Canadian sprinting records, and a vital member of Canada's top one-mile (1600m) relay teams. Ball first made his mark on the world of track and field while studying to be a pharmacist at the University of Manitoba. He won both the Manitoba and the Western Canada individual and Intercollegiate Championships in 1925, then went on to take first place titles in both the 400m (quarter-mile) race and the 1,600m (one-mile) relay at the 1927 Canadian Championships. He established himself as Canada's best quarter-mile runner with two consecutive record-breaking performances at the 1928 Olympic trials in Hamilton. After setting a new Canadian record of 49.4 seconds, he broke it again within an hour, running a new time of 48.6 seconds. A member of Canada's Olympic teams in 1928 and 1932, Ball brought back a silver medal for the 400m race in 1928 as well as two bronze medals for the 1600m relays at both Olympic events. Coming in a mere two inches behind the first-place runner at the 400m race at the 1928 Games, it is widely thought that Ball could easily have taken the gold had he had more experience with staggered-lane running. After the 1928 Olympics, Ball recorded additional victories in events throughout Europe. At the Tailteann Games in Dublin, he broke the Irish records for the 200m and the 400m races with times of 21.6 and 48.8 seconds, respectively. He was subsequently awarded the Tailteann Queen Trophy for outstanding performance. Between his two Olympic appearances, Ball remained on top in a number of races throughout Canada and the United States. He set yet another record at the 1929 Canadian indoor championships in Toronto, running the 300-yard race in 33 seconds, and won four Manitoba titles in a single afternoon in 1930. He was also a member of the Canadian medley relay team which claimed a thrilling victory at the 1932 Milrose Games in New York City. Ball was awarded the Norton H. Crowe trophy for outstanding performance and sportsmanship in 1933. He was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.


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