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Jim Beatty

Photo of Jim Beatty

Inducted: 1990, athlete

Born: October 28, 1934 - New York, New York

Events
1,500 m - 3:39.40
1 mi. - 3:55.50
2 mi. - 8:30
5,000 m - 13:45.00


Jim Beatty is best remembered as the first man to break the four-minute mile barrier indoors with a 3:58.9 performance in February 1962 in Los Angeles, surpassing the existing record by 2.5 seconds. The performance served as a harbinger of a great year for the diminutive Beatty (5' 6", 130 lbs.) That year, he set American records in five events during a 16-day stretch, which included the 1500m (Oslo, Aug. 9), mile (Helsinki, Aug. 21), 3000m (Avranches, France, Aug. 15) and both the 3 mile and 5000m in one race (Turku, Finland, Aug. 24). Beatty became the first American to hold records simultaneously in all events from 1500 to 5000 meters. That magical year saw Beatty break a total of seven U.S. records and a world record at 2 miles. Beatty earned the 1960 Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete. Beatty's transformation from a capable but unheralded college runner to record setter began in 1959 when he moved to California to join the training group of legendary coach Mihaly Igloi. Competing for the Los Angeles Track Club, Beatty made the 1960 Olympic team but failed to advance to the 5000m final in Rome. He earned four national titles during his career, winning the mile in 1962 and earning indoor mile titles from 1961 to 1963. He was second in the 1500m in the 1963 Pan American Games. Following his running career, Beatty headed up an executive search firm. He also went into politics, serving as a state legislator in North Carolina but failing in his bid to win a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Records Held
World Record: 2 mi. - 8:30 (June 8, 1962 - )
American Record: 1,500 m - 3:39.40 (August 9, 1962 - )
American Record: 5,000 m - 13:45.00 (August 24, 1962 - )

Championships
1960 Olympics: 5,000 m
1961 AAU Indoors: 1 mi. (1st)
1962 AAU: 1 mi. (1st)
1962 AAU Indoors: 1 mi. (1st)
1963 AAU Indoors: 1 mi. (1st)
1963 Pan Am Games: 1,500 m (2nd)

Education
high school: Central (Charlotte, North Carolina), 1953
undergraduate: North Carolina (Chapel Hill, North Carolina), 1957

Occupations
Executive recruiter
Politician

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