Jim Trifunov was born in Jarovac, Serbia. In 1910, Trifunov immigrated to Canada and settled in Regina, Saskatchewan. Trifunov's record of 10 consecutive Canadian wrestling championships began in 1923. Trifunov was unanimously selected for the Canadian team for the 1924 Olympic Games and the 1928 Olympiad where he won bronze. During the 1930 British Empire Games in Hamilton, Trifunov was the Bantamweight Champion.
The 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles and the Canadian Championships were Trifunov's last major competitions, as he then embarked on a career as a volunteer in wrestling and amateur sport. As a coach and administrator, Trifunov served as a coach for Canadian Olympic teams in Helsinki (1952), Melbourne (1956), and Rome (1960); as manager of the Canadian wrestling teams in the British Empire Games from 1954-1970 and World Championships from 1966- 1970; and locally as the wrestling coach for the University of Winnipeg, the Central Winnipeg YMCA, and the Canada Winter Games Teams in 1967 & 1975. Trifunov's volunteer work included 25 years as the President of the Manitoba Amateur Wrestling Association; executive positions with the Canadian Amateur Wrestling Association; Director of the Winnipeg YMCA; Founding Director of the Manitoba Sports Federation; Member of the Boxing and Wrestling Committee; President of the Winnipeg Bowling Association (1950-52); Chairman of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame & Museum Inc.; and Past Chairman of the Manitoba Boxing and Wrestling Commission.
Obviously a builder as well as an athlete, Trifunov was the recipient of numerous honours including the Canadian Centennial Medal in 1967, the Gold Star Medal and Diploma of Honour from the International Wrestling Federation in 1976, a "Life Membership" in the Winnipeg YMCA, and the distinguished Order of Canada in 1981. He was also inducted into 5 Halls of Fame.