Athletics at the 1972 Summer Olympics – Men's pole vault

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Men's pole vault
at the Games of the XX Olympiad
Venue Olympic Stadium
Dates September 1 & 2
Gold medal 
Silver medal 
Bronze medal 
«1968 1976»
Athletics at the
1972 Summer Olympics
Athletics pictogram.svg
Track events
100 m   men   women
200 m men women
400 m men women
800 m men women
1500 m men women
5000 m men
10,000 m men
100 m hurdles women
110 m hurdles men
400 m hurdles men
3000 m
4×100 m relay men women
4×400 m relay men women
Road events
Marathon men
20 km walk men
50 km walk men
Field events
Long jump men women
Triple jump men
High jump men women
Pole vault men
Shot put men women
Discus throw men women
Javelin throw men women
Hammer throw men
Combined events
Pentathlon women
Decathlon men

The men's pole vault field event at the 1972 Olympic Games took place on September 1 & 2. Controversy arose when defending champion Bob Seagren and Sweden's Kjell Isaksson new Cata-Pole was declared to be illegal, by the IAAF, on 25 July. The pole was banned based on the fact that the pole contained carbon fibers; after an East German-led protest revealed that it contained no carbon fibers, the ban was lifted on 27 August. Three days later the IAAF reversed itself again, reinstating the ban. The poles were then confiscated from the athletes. Seagren and Isaksson believed this gave other athletes, like the eventual gold medalist, Wolfgang Nordwig, an unfair advantage, since he did not use or train on the pole. After Seagren’s last vault he was so incensed by the way IAAF officials handled the event, he took the pole he had been forced to vault with and handed it back to IAAF President Adrian Paulen.[1]

This was the first Olympics where the pole vault had not been won by an American. Prior to 1972, USA had won 16 straight. Since 1972 USA has only won the men's pole vault twice, equalling the record of Poland and components of the USSR. France has won three times since 1984.


All jumpers reaching 5.10 m (16 ft 9 in) and the top 12 including ties qualified for the finals. This was the automatic qualifier shown in blue. All other qualifiers are shown in green. All heights are listed in metres.


Rank Name Nationality Group Mark 4.80 5.00 5.10
1T Antti Kalliomäki Finland A 5.10 p p o
1T Wolfgang Nordwig East Germany A 5.10 p p o
3T Bruce Simpson Canada B 5.10 p o o
3T Hervé d’Encausse France A 5.10 p o o
5 Reinhard Kuretzky West Germany B 5.10 o o o
6T François Tracanelli France B 5.10 p p xo
6T Bob Seagren United States A 5.10 p p xo
8 Hans Lagerqvist Sweden A 5.10 p o xo
9 Volker Ohl West Germany A 5.10 o o xo
10 Jan Johnson United States A 5.10 o xo xo
11 Tadeusz Ślusarski Poland B 5.00 p o xxx
12 Wojciech Buciarski Poland B 5.00 p xo xxx
13 Khristos Papanikolaou Greece A 5.00 xxo xo xxx
14 Ingemar Jernberg Sweden B 5.00 xo xxo xxx
15 Silvio Fraquelli Italy B 4.80 o xxx
16T Ray Boyd Australia B 4.80 xo xxx
16T Michael Bull Great Britain B 4.80 xo xxx
18 Stephen Smith United States A 4.80 xxo xxx
- Kjell Isaksson Sweden A NM p xxx
- Kirk Bryde Canada B NM xxx
- Renato Dionisi Italy A NM xxx
- Abass Goudiaby Senegal B DNS


Rank Name Nationality Mark 4.80 5.00 5.10 5.20 5.30 5.35 5.40 5.45 5.50 5.56 Notes
1st, gold medalist(s) Wolfgang Nordwig East Germany 5.50 p p o p xo o xo o xxo xxx OR
2nd, silver medalist(s) Bob Seagren United States 5.40 p p p o p o xxo xxx
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Jan Johnson United States 5.35 p p p xo p xo xxx
4 Reinhard Kuretzky West Germany 5.30 o xo xxo xo o xxx
5 Bruce Simpson Canada 5.20 p o xxo o xxx
6 Volker Ohl West Germany 5.20 p p xo xo xxx
7 Hans Lagerqvist Sweden 5.20 p xo p xxo xxx
8 François Tracanelli France 5.10 p p o p xxx
9 Ingemar Jernberg Sweden 5.10 p xxo xo xxx
10 Wojciech Buciarski Poland 5.00 p o p xxx
11 Khristos Papanikolaou Greece 5.00 o o p xxx
- Antti Kalliomäki Finland NM p p p xxx
- Hervé d’Encausse France NM p p xxx
- Tadeusz Ślusarski Poland NM p xxx

Key: OR = Olympic record; o = clear ; p = pass; x = fail; NM = no mark; T = tied; DNS = did not start


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