Pole vault at the Olympics

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Pole vault
at the Olympic Games
Pole vault event at the 1904 Summer Olympics.jpg
The 1904 pole vault competition
Sport Athletics
Gender Men and women
Years held Men: 18962012
Women: 20002012
Olympic record
Men 5.97 m Renaud Lavillenie (2012)
Women 5.05 m Yelena Isinbayeva (2008)
Reigning champion
Men  Renaud Lavillenie (FRA)
Women  Jennifer Suhr (USA)

The pole vault at the Summer Olympics is grouped among the four track and field jumping events held at the multi-sport event. The men's pole vault has been present on the Olympic athletics programme since the first Summer Olympics in 1896. The women's event is one of the latest additions to the programme, first being contested at the 2000 Summer Olympics – along with the addition of the hammer throw, this brought the women's field event programme to parity with the men's.

The Olympic records for the event are 5.97 m (19 ft 7 in) for men, set by Renaud Lavillenie in 2012, and 5.05 m (16 ft 634 in) for women, set by Yelena Isinbayeva in 2008. Isinbayeva's 2008 mark was a world record at the time and her 2004 victory in 4.91 m (16 ft 114 in) had been the first women's world record in the pole vault to be set at the Olympics. In spite of its longer history, the men's Olympic event has only seen two world record marks – a clearance of 4.09 m (13 ft 5 in) by Frank Foss at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics and Władysław Kozakiewicz's vault of 5.78 m (18 ft 1112 in) to win at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.[1]

William Hoyt was the first Olympic champion in 1896 and Stacy Dragila became the first female Olympic pole vault champion over 100 years later in 2000. Renaud Lavillenie and Jennifer Suhr are the reigning Olympic champions from 2012. Yelena Isinbayeva and Bob Richards are the only two athletes to win two Olympic pole vault titles, and also the only two athletes to win more than two Olympic medals in the discipline. The United States is by far the most successful nation in the event, having won 21 gold medals and 47 medals in total. France is the next most successful with three gold medallists.



Games Gold Silver Bronze
1896 Athens
 William Hoyt (USA)  Albert Tyler (USA)  Evangelos Damaskos (GRE)
 Ioannis Theodoropoulos (GRE)
1900 Paris
 Irving Baxter (USA)  Meredith Colket (USA)  Carl Albert Andersen (NOR)
1904 St. Louis
 Charles Dvorak (USA)  LeRoy Samse (USA)  Louis Wilkins (USA)
1908 London
 Edward Cook (USA) none awarded  Edward Archibald (CAN)
 Clare Jacobs (USA)
 Alfred Gilbert (USA)
 Bruno Söderström (SWE)
1912 Stockholm
 Harry Babcock (USA)  Frank Nelson (USA)  William Halpenny (CAN)
 Frank Murphy (USA)
 Marc Wright (USA)
 Bertil Uggla (SWE)
1920 Antwerp
 Frank Foss (USA)  Henry Petersen (DEN)  Edwin Myers (USA)
1924 Paris
 Lee Barnes (USA)  Glen Graham (USA)  James Brooker (USA)
1928 Amsterdam
 Sabin Carr (USA)  William Droegemueller (USA)  Charles McGinnis (USA)
1932 Los Angeles
 Bill Miller (USA)  Shuhei Nishida (JPN)  George Jefferson (USA)
1936 Berlin
 Earle Meadows (USA)  Shuhei Nishida (JPN)  Sueo Ōe (JPN)
1948 London
 Guinn Smith (USA)  Erkki Kataja (FIN)  Bob Richards (USA)
1952 Helsinki
 Bob Richards (USA)  Don Laz (USA)  Ragnar Lundberg (SWE)
1956 Melbourne
 Bob Richards (USA)  Bob Gutowski (USA)  Georgios Roubanis (GRE)
1960 Rome
 Don Bragg (USA)  Ron Morris (USA)  Eeles Landström (FIN)
1964 Tokyo
 Fred Hansen (USA)  Wolfgang Reinhardt (EUA)  Klaus Lehnertz (EUA)
1968 Mexico City
 Bob Seagren (USA)  Claus Schiprowski (FRG)  Wolfgang Nordwig (GDR)
1972 Munich
 Wolfgang Nordwig (GDR)  Bob Seagren (USA)  Jan Johnson (USA)
1976 Montreal
 Tadeusz Ślusarski (POL)  Antti Kalliomäki (FIN)  David Roberts (USA)
1980 Moscow
 Władysław Kozakiewicz (POL)  Tadeusz Ślusarski (POL) none awarded
 Konstantin Volkov (URS)
1984 Los Angeles
 Pierre Quinon (FRA)  Mike Tully (USA)  Earl Bell (USA)
 Thierry Vigneron (FRA)
1988 Seoul
 Sergey Bubka (URS)  Rodion Gataullin (URS)  Grigoriy Yegorov (URS)
1992 Barcelona
 Maksim Tarasov (EUN)  Igor Trandenkov (EUN)  Javier García (ESP)
1996 Atlanta
 Jean Galfione (FRA)  Igor Trandenkov (RUS)  Andrei Tivontchik (GER)
2000 Sydney
 Nick Hysong (USA)  Lawrence Johnson (USA)  Maksim Tarasov (RUS)
2004 Athens
 Timothy Mack (USA)  Toby Stevenson (USA)  Giuseppe Gibilisco (ITA)
2008 Beijing
 Steve Hooker (AUS)  Yevgeny Lukyanenko (RUS)  Denys Yurchenko (UKR)
2012 London
 Renaud Lavillenie (FRA)  Björn Otto (GER)  Raphael Holzdeppe (GER)

Multiple medalists[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Olympics Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Richards, BobBob Richards  United States (USA) 1948–1956 2 1 0 3
2= Seagren, BobBob Seagren  United States (USA) 1968–1972 1 1 0 2
2= Ślusarski, TadeuszTadeusz Ślusarski  Poland (POL) 1976–1980 1 1 0 2
4= Nordwig, WolfgangWolfgang Nordwig  East Germany (GDR) 1968–1972 1 0 1 2
4= Tarasov, MaksimMaksim Tarasov  Russia (RUS)
 Unified Team (EUN)
1992–2000 1 0 1 2
6= Nishida, ShuheiShuhei Nishida  Japan (JPN) 1932–1936 0 2 0 2
6= Trandenkov, IgorIgor Trandenkov  Russia (RUS)
 Unified Team (EUN)
1992–1996 0 2 0 2

Medalists by country[edit]

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States (USA) 19 14 11 44
2  France (FRA) 3 0 1 4
3  Poland (POL) 2 1 0 3
4  Soviet Union (URS) 1 2 1 4
5  Unified Team (EUN) 1 1 0 2
6  East Germany (GDR) 1 0 1 2
7  Australia (AUS) 1 0 0 1
8  Germany (GER)[nb] 0 2 3 5
9=  Japan (JPN) 0 2 1 3
9=  Finland (FIN) 0 2 1 3
9=  Russia (RUS) 0 2 1 3
12=  Denmark (DEN) 0 1 0 1
12=  West Germany (FRG) 0 1 0 1
14=  Greece (GRE) 0 0 3 3
14=  Sweden (SWE) 0 0 3 3
16  Canada (CAN) 0 0 2 2
17=  Spain (ESP) 0 0 1 1
17=  Italy (ITA) 0 0 1 1
17=  Norway (NOR) 0 0 1 1
17=  Ukraine (UKR) 0 0 1 1


Games Gold Silver Bronze
2000 Sydney
 Stacy Dragila (USA)  Tatiana Grigorieva (AUS)  Vala Flosadóttir (ISL)
2004 Athens
 Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS)  Svetlana Feofanova (RUS)  Anna Rogowska (POL)
2008 Beijing
 Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS)  Jennifer Stuczynski (USA)  Svetlana Feofanova (RUS)
2012 London
 Jenn Suhr (USA)  Yarisley Silva (CUB)  Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS)

Multiple medalists[edit]

Rank Athlete Nation Olympics Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Isinbayeva, YelenaYelena Isinbayeva  Russia (RUS) 2004–2012 2 0 1 3
2 Suhr, JennJenn Suhr  United States (USA) 2008–2012 1 1 0 2
3 Feofanova, SvetlanaSvetlana Feofanova  Russia (RUS) 2004–2008 0 1 1 2

Medalists by country[edit]

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Russia (RUS) 2 1 2 5
2  United States (USA) 2 1 0 3
3=  Australia (AUS) 0 1 0 1
3=  Cuba (CUB) 0 1 0 1
5=  Iceland (ISL) 0 0 1 1
5=  Poland (POL) 0 0 1 1

Intercalated Games[edit]

The 1906 Intercalated Games were held in Athens and at the time were officially recognised as part of the Olympic Games series, with the intention being to hold a games in Greece in two-year intervals between the internationally held Olympics. However, this plan never came to fruition and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) later decided not to recognise these games as part of the official Olympic series. Some sports historians continue to treat the results of these games as part of the Olympic canon.[2]

Continuing its presence since the first Olympics, a men's pole vault event was contested at the 1906 Games. France's Fernand Gonder entered as the world record holder and delivered by winning in an Olympic record-equalling mark.[3] The runner-up, Bruno Söderström of Sweden, also won a javelin throw medal that year.[4] Ed Glover, the American champion, was the bronze medallist.[3]

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1906 Athens
 Fernand Gonder (FRA)  Bruno Söderström (SWE)  Ed Glover (USA)

Non-canonical Olympic events[edit]

In addition to the main 1900 Olympic men's pole vault, a handicap competition was held four days later. The joint fourth place finishers in the main event took the top two spots, with Jakab Kauser posting a mark of 3.45 m with a handicap of 45 cm, and Eric Lemming coming second with his result of 3.40 m with a 30 cm handicap. Meredith Colket, the silver medallist in the main event registered 3.20 m with a handicap of 15 cm.[5][6] Two further non-handicap "scratch" competitions were held that are no longer considered canon Olympic events: the American champion Bascom Johnson won an event on July 16,[7] then three days later Daniel Horton (a triple jump competitor) defeated Charles Dvorak in a consolation event – both had missed the final proper as it was held on the Sabbath. Dvorak went on to win the Olympic pole vault gold in 1904.[8][9]

The handicap event returned at the 1904 Summer Olympics. LeRoy Samse, the runner-up in the main Olympic pole vault, won with 3.58 m and a handicap of one inch. Walter Dray, sixth in the Olympic event, came second with 3.58 m and a ten inch handicap, while Olympic fifth placer Claude Allen recorded 3.55 m off a seven inch handicap.[5]

These events are no longer considered part of the official Olympic history of the pole vault or the athletics programme in general. Consequently, medals from these competitions have not been assigned to nations on the all-time medal tables.[5]


Participation and athlete data
Olympic record progressions
  1. ^ 12th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook Berlin 2009 (pgs. 546, 645). IAAF (2009). Retrieved on 2014-05-03.
  2. ^ 1906 Athina Summer Games. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-01-26.
  3. ^ a b Athletics at the 1906 Athina Summer Games: Men's Pole Vault. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-03.
  4. ^ Bruno Söderström. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-04-19.
  5. ^ a b c Handicap Olympic Athletics Events. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2014-04-18.
  6. ^ Athletics at the 1900 Paris Summer Games: Men's Pole Vault, Handicap. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-05.
  7. ^ Athletics at the 1900 Paris Summer Games: Men's Special Scratch Pole Vault #1. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-05.
  8. ^ Athletics at the 1900 Paris Summer Games: Men's Special Scratch Pole Vault #2. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-05.
  9. ^ Charles Dvorak. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2014-05-05.

External links[edit]