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
1st, gold medalist(s) Wolfgang Nordwig
 East Germany
2nd, silver medalist(s) Bob Seagren
 United States
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Jan Johnson
 United States
← 1968
1976 →
Athletics at the
1972 Summer Olympics
Olympic Athletics.png
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. Seagren and Isaksson were given substitute poles which they had never used before to jump with. Isaksson, who had lost the world record to Seagren only 2 months earlier, didn't clear a height in the qualifying round and was eliminated. 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 Adriaan 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 Mike 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


  1. ^ [1]