Fahey, world champion of the three jumps, was born in Galbally,
Co.Limerick in 1880. He lived with his aunt on a farm, an ordinary life
until, at the age of 18; he jumped, without shoes, against the renowned
champion, Chandler, in Cork and won. His performance was recorded as 37
ft 4 ins. This was the beginning of an athletic career which was to lead
him to break the world record at Calumet Park, Chicago and become an
Olympic champion. That day he cleared 40 ft 3 ins in three jumps.
After his initial success in Cork, Jim competed as a standing jumper
whenever possible and usually won. Jumping from a stationary position
and thus transforming concentrated power into action is a natural Celtic
gift at which he excelled. It is said that he didn’t formally train in
those days, or worry in any way about his diet... he just went along to
meetings where the three standing jumps were on the programme and simply
jumped further than anyone else.
At the Olympic Games in 1906
in Athens Jim broke the world record for 3 standing broad jumps and won
the crown for the single broad jump. He also represented Ireland by
taking part in the games in Stockholm, Rome and Paris.
Jim moved to Chicago where he continued his athletic success. He was
granted membership of the Illinois club and competed for several years
without being beaten. Another peak of his career came when he broke the
world record in 1923. In addition to his performances as a jumper he
was a lifelong supporter of the G.A.A. and was involved with the
organisation of Gaelic games in Chicago. He personally welcomed and
hosted the Tipperary Hurlers when they played and won in Chicago in
In spite of his relocation to Chicago, Jim returned home
many times and it is said that his heart always remained in Galbally. He
married a woman from North Tipperary and they had one son who became a priest. In addition to his sporting legacy, Jim inspired great
affection and respect, and was known as a good family man and friend.