Athletics at the 1968 Summer Olympics – Men's pole vault

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Men's pole vault
at the Games of the XIX Olympiad
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-D0812-0012-002, Wolfgang Nordwig.jpg
Eventual bronze medallist Wolfgang Nordwig led the qualifying round alongside John Pennel.
Venue Estadio Olímpico Universitario
Dates 14 and 16 October
1st, gold medalist(s) Bob Seagren  United States
2nd, silver medalist(s) Claus Schiprowski  West Germany
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Wolfgang Nordwig  East Germany
← 1964
1972 →
Video on YouTube @ 10:20 Official Video
Athletics at the
1968 Summer Olympics
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Track events
100 m   men   women
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4×100 m relay men women
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Road events
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Field events
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Pole vault men
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Combined events
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Decathlon men

The men's pole vault was one of four men's jumping events on the athletics program at the 1968 Summer Olympics. The competition had two rounds, qualifying and a final, which were held on 14 and 16 October respectively at the Estadio Olímpico Universitario in Mexico City.

Bob Seagren, who had set a world record of 5.41 m (17 ft 834 in) a month earlier, won the gold medal for the United States. The medallists, Seagren, Claus Schiprowski, and Wolfgang Nordwig, all finished the competition with the same height (5.40 m (17 ft 812 in)) and the trio shared in breaking Fred Hansen's Olympic record of 5.10 m (16 ft 834 in) set at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Both Seagren and Schiprowski cleared the winning height on their second attempt and were separated by Schiprowski having two misses earlier in the competition, while Seagren only had one. Nordwig entered the final height, tied with Seagren with only one miss earlier in the competition, but Nordwig took three attempts to clear the winning height. Of the top five competitors, only Schiprowski would not hold the World record at some point in time. Tenth place Kjell Isaksson would also hold the world record.

Competition format[edit]

The competition consisted of two rounds, qualification and final. In both rounds, each athlete had three attempts at each height and was eliminated from the competition if he failed to clear that height. Athletes could choose to pass onto the next height, although any failed attempts were carried over into that height. The heights increased in increments of five centimetres. Athletes who successfully jumped the qualifying height 4.90 m (16 ft 034 in) progressed to the final round. In the event that fewer than twelve athletes cleared that height, the best twelve athletes (including those tied with athletes in the top twelve) would progress to the next round.[1]


Date Time Round
Monday, 14 October 1968  ? Qualifications
Wednesday, 16 October 1968  ? Finals


Prior to the competition, the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.

World record  Bob Seagren (USA) 5.41 m A[2] Echo Summit, United States 12 September 1968
Olympic record  Fred Hansen (USA) 5.10 m[3] Tokyo, Japan 17 October 1964

The following new Olympic record was set during this competition:

Date Event Athlete Mark Notes
16 October Final  Bob Seagren (USA)
 Claus Schiprowski (FRG)
 Wolfgang Nordwig (GDR)
5.40 OR



Rank Group Name Nationality Mark 4.20 4.30 4.40 4.50 4.60 4.70 4.75 4.80 4.85 4.90 Notes
1= A Wolfgang Nordwig  East Germany 4.90 o
1= A John Pennel  United States 4.90 o
3= A Altti Alarotu  Finland 4.90 o o
3= A Erkki Mustakari  Finland 4.90 o o
3= A Hervé d'Encausse  France 4.90 o o
3= A Claus Schiprowski  West Germany 4.90 o o
3= A Christos Papanikolaou  Greece 4.90 o o
3= A Hennadiy Bleznitsov  Soviet Union 4.90 o o
9= B Ignacio Sola  Spain 4.90 o o o
9= B Mike Bull  Great Britain 4.90 o o o
9= B Kiyoshi Niwa  Japan 4.90 o o o
12 B Aleksandr Malyutin  Soviet Union 4.90 xxo o o xxo o
13 A Bob Seagren  United States 4.90 xo
14 A Kjell Isaksson  Sweden 4.90 o xo
15 A Heinfried Engel  West Germany 4.90 o o xxo
16 B Pantelis Nikolaidis  Greece 4.80 o o o xxx
17 B Enrico Barney  Argentina 4.80 o o xo o xxo o xxx
18 B Klaus Lehnertz  West Germany 4.75 o o o xxx
19 B John-Erik Blomqvist  Sweden 4.75 o xxo xxx
20 A Casey Carrigan  United States 4.60 o xxx
21 B Wu Ah-Min  Republic of China 4.50 o o o xxx
22 B Heinz Wyss  Switzerland 4.50 xo o r
N/A B Ingo Peyker  Austria xxx

Key: OR = Olympic record; o = clear ; – = pass; x = fail; r = retired


Rank Name Nationality 4.60 4.80 4.90 5.00 5.05 5.10 5.15 5.20 5.25 5.30 5.35 5.40 5.45 Mark Notes
1st, gold medalist(s) Bob Seagren  United States o xo o xo xxx 5.40 OR
2nd, silver medalist(s) Claus Schiprowski  West Germany o o o o xo o xo xo xxx 5.40 OR
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Wolfgang Nordwig  East Germany xo o o o xxo xxx 5.40 OR
4 Christos Papanikolaou  Greece o o o xo xo o xxx 5.35
5 John Pennel  United States o xo xo xxo xxx 5.35
6 Hennadiy Bleznitsov  Soviet Union o o o o xo xxx 5.30
7 Hervé d'Encausse  France o xo o xxx 5.25
8 Heinfried Engel  West Germany o xxo xo o xxx 5.20
9 Ignacio Sola  Spain xo o xo o xxo xxx 5.20
10 Kjell Isaksson  Sweden o xo o xxx 5.15
11 Kiyoshi Niwa  Japan o o o o xo xxx 5.15
12 Aleksandr Malyutin  Soviet Union o o o xxx 5.00
13 Mike Bull  Great Britain xo o xo xxx 5.00
14 Altti Alarotu  Finland xxo r 5.00
N/A Erkki Mustakari  Finland xxx NM

Key: OR = Olympic record; o = clear ; – = pass; x = fail; r = retired


  1. ^ Athletics at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games:Men's Pole Vault Qualifying Round. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2013-09-07.
  2. ^ "12th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook. Berlin 2009." (PDF). Monte Carlo: IAAF Media & Public Relations Department. 2009. pp. Pages 546, 555–6. Archived from the original (pdf) on June 29, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2009. 
  3. ^ Athletics at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games:Men's Pole Vault. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2013-09-07.