The best way to remember and pay tribute to James Dunaway, the longtime track and field reporter who passed away this past weekend in Austin, Texas at the age of 87, is to revisit the interview he gave in the fall of 2010 when he was inducted into the USA Track and Field (USATF) Hall of Fame.
It all started for Dunaway in Chicago. By day, he was working at ad agency Leo Burnett. On the side, he started building out a syndicated newspaper profiles column about smaller town athletes called “Hometown Features” and used that platform to secure press credentials for the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics. But how to get there?:
“My father arranged for me, he worked for Texaco, an oil tanker ride to Sumatra, and from there I got on another tanker that took me to Botany Bay in Sydney.”
The following decade, Dunaway was working in New York City, where some of his jogging mates in Central Park were Sports Illustrated reporters. When it came time for the magazine to hire someone to write an instructional book about participating in track and field events, that group of friends nominated him. Once the book was published, Dunaway was off and journalist running.
Over the years, he covered every Summer Olympics through Beijing in 2008 and wrote for Sports Illustrated, Esquire, the New York Times and others. The Austin American-Statesman has a great 2008 photo of Dunaway here. RIP.
[Image via: olympic.org]