Athletics journalist James Dunaway (USATF) © Copyright
Iaaf News Monaco

Leading athletics journalist James Dunaway passes away at 87

It is with great sadness that the IAAF has to report the death of James Dunaway in Austin, Texas, on Sunday at the age of 87.

Dunaway was a doyen of athletics journalism, not just in the USA but globally, and a highly respected writer.

In addition, he was a regular contributor to IAAF publications and the IAAF website. His work for the IAAF included writing insightful columns from a number of major championships.

He was elected to the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2010 and we have re-printed below the biography that accompanied his entry that year.

“Dunaway, although a native Texan, lived for most of his life in New York City and its New Jersey suburbs. After his graduation from Penn State, he worked for General Electric and then for a series of advertising agencies.

“Self-taught as a journalist, he says, ‘I learned how to write by working in advertising agencies; I learned how to write about track and field by reading track stories in The New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, and the New York Sun.’”

“His track writing career began in 1956, when he took a leave of absence from a Chicago ad agency to go to Australia and see the Olympic Games in Melbourne. To finance the trip he started a news service, ‘Hometown Features,’ and covered the Games for five newspapers which had local athletes competing in Melbourne.

“In 1960, he began regularly covering meets in New York for The Times and Track & Field News, becoming Eastern Editor of T&FN in 1964.

“He has covered every Olympics since Melbourne, 14 in all, as well as every World Track and Field Championships but one, 52 NCAA outdoor championships, and more than 100 indoor and outdoor AAU, TAC, and USA National Championships.

“His articles on business and sports have appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Signature, The Runner, Runners' World, Track & Field News, American Track & Field, and many other magazines and newspapers, as well as CBS SportsLine.com.

“Author of the best-selling Sports Illustrated Book of Track & Field: Running Events, he was twice (1999-2001) and (2005-2007) elected president of the Track and Field Writers of America.”

Dunaway in recent years returned to his native Texas, where he passed away on Sunday. Jim, you will be missed immensely.

IAAF