Pamela Jiles – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
Track & Field, 1971-77
Abramson HS/Dillard University/1976 Olympics
Pamela Jiles, a star New Orleans sprinter from Abramson High School and the New Orleans Super Dames club team, earned a silver medal for the United States in the 4×400-meter relay at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. She also won two gold medals and a silver at the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City.
In the 1975 Pan Am Games, Jiles nearly collected three gold medals. She won the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.38 seconds and anchored the USA 4×100-meter relay team to a Pan Am Games record time of 42.90 seconds for another gold. In the 200-meter dash, Jiles and teammate Chandra Cheeseborough had a photo finish. The gold was awarded to Cheeseborough and Jiles settled for silver with a time of 22.81 seconds – her personal-record.
Ranked No. 4 in the world in the 200 and No. 6 in the 100 in 1975, Jiles posted fourth-place finishers in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes at the 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore, to earn a spot on the 1976 USA Olympic Team. Her 11.31 time in the 100 at the Trials was her personal-record.
During the 1976 Olympic finals, Jiles was a surprise pick to run a leg for the mile-relay team as she did not specialize in the 400 meters. Her choice was justified however, when she ran a 51.3 leg in the final to help the USA to a time of 3:22.81 and the silver medal.
The 1976 Olympic results are quite controversial in retrospect as that was the height of the Eastern-bloc countries documented usage of performance-enhancing drugs. The Gold Medal 4×400 relay team in Montreal was from East Germany, which was found to have been one of the leaders in the doping culture. The USA’s silver medal in the mile relay was it’s only women’s running medal (the only other medal for the USA in women’s track and field was a silver medal in the long jump).
Jiles ran a personal-best 52.64 in the 400 in 1977.
Born in New Orleans on July 10, 1955, Jiles attended Dillard University which didn’t have a track program at the time. After her Olympic performance, she attended LSU and competed for the Tiger track team for one year.