Portland, Oregon native Ryan Bailey didn’t have the easiest time growing up, spending stretches of his adolescence living out his family’s car and suffering violence while extricating himself out of local gangs. But Ryan’s fortunes changed after dedicating himself to track. He made himself a nationally known talent in 2007 when he won Oregon State Championships 6A titles at 100m and 200m, and then went on to finish second and third over 200m at the Nike Outdoor Championships and USATF Junior Championships, respectively.
In his first year out of high school, Ryan saw his 100m and 200m times fall to 10.28 and 20.69 in a single day. Five weeks after his impressive double, Ryan finished third in the 100m at the USATF Junior Championships, and was a member of the USA Junior 4x400m Relay team that won gold at the IAAF World Junior Championships.
Following his eye-opening improvement after just a single year out of high school, Ryan relocated himself to Ina, Illinois where he enrolled at Rend Lake College, known as one of the top junior college track and field programs in the country. At Rend Lake, Ryan won two national junior college titles and lowered his 100m personal best to 10.05, making Bailey one of the fastest men in the US in 2009. A year later, Ryan achieved top four finishes in four different Samsung Diamond League meets and lowered his 100m personal best down to 9.88.
After missing the 2011 season due to injury, Ryan relocated to Los Angeles and began working with famed sprints coach John Smith. At the US Trials, Ryan finished third to qualify for his first Olympic Games. At London, Ryan finished fifth in the 100m final, in what many consider the greatest 100m final in the history of the sport.