The Lightbody Award is the highest honor bestowed on an individual by the Delaware County Sports Heritage Foundation. It recognizes the contributions of an individual who has excelled in the participation, support or promotion of athletics with a connection to Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana.
James Davies Lightbody was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1882. His family traveled to Muncie (Delaware County), Indiana where he went to high school before attending the University of Chicago. The legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg recruited him there. He went on to establish himself as one of the premier track athletes of the early 20th century. Jim Lightbody distinguished himself at the 1904 Olympic games in St. Louis where he captured three gold medals and one silver medal.
At these Olympic Games, he won the steeplechase race, a race he had never participated in, and beat the favored runner.. He also won a gold medal as an underdog in the 800-meter race, establishing an Olympic record with a time of 1:56.0. He continued his dominance by setting a world record in capturing the 1,500-meter race in 4:05.4. He was part of the Chicago Athletic Association team that captured a silver medal in the four-mile cross-country team race.
Jim Lightbody won national AAU races in the one-half mile and mile races in 1905. At the Intercalated Games in Athens, Greece in 1906, he won a gold medal in the 1,500-meter race and a silver medal in the 800-meter event.
After a illustrious career, Jim Lightbody settled in Charleston, South Carolina where he died in March 1953.
James Lightbody Award Selection Process
The selection for the Lightbody Award is as follows:
- Nomination for this award must be made by a current Delaware County Athletic Hall of Fame board member. The nomination must be narrative in nature and presented in writing to the board.
- Only one recipient of this award may be selected each year. If there is more than one nomination for the award, the board will decide which nominee will be placed on the ballot each year and other nominees will be placed on the list to be considered in future years.
After the nominee has been presented along with any necessary discussion, a ballot vote will be taken. A ballot for voting on the nominee will be distributed. The required 90% approval for selection must be attained from the ballots cast.
In the event that a board member is unable to attend the selection meeting, a proxy will be provided and cast by the member unable to attend. In the event that the nominee is a member of the board, he/she must abstain from voting and will not receive a ballot for the purpose of voting. The 90% requirement for selection will be calculated from the ballots cast.