Christos Papanikolaou

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Christos Papanikolaou
Personal information
Born (1941-11-25) 25 November 1941 (age 73)
Country  Greece
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Pole vault
Achievements and titles
Highest world ranking 1st
Personal best(s) 5.49 metres

Christos Papanikolaou (Greek: Χρήστος Παπανικολάου, born November 25, 1941 in Trikala, Thessalia, Greece) is a retired Greek pole vaulter. He was born in Trikala. At a young age he joined the Sports Club of Trikala. After completing his high school education he enrolled in the Sports Academy of Athens. While in Athens, he joined Panathinaikos.

His greatest ever championship achievements only came when he won the silver medal at the 1966 European Championships and finished fourth at the 1968 Summer Olympics.[1]

Papanikolaou trained in the United States at San Jose State University and was part of their 1969 NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship team coached by Lloyd (Bud) Winter.[2] At the 1970 Universiade in Turin, Papanikolaou finished second behind Wolfgang Nordwig, who won the event with a new world record of 5.46 metres.

On 24 October the same year Papanikolaou jumped 5.49 metres in Athens to capture the world record. Measuring 18′ 1½″, it was the first pole vault over 18 feet.[3][4] The vault was featured on the November 1970 cover of Track and Field News.[5] The record was later beaten by Swede Kjell Isaksson who achieved 5.51 metres on 8 April 1972.[6]

Papanikolaou was ranked by Track and Field News among the top ten pole vaulters a total of seven times between 1966 and 1972, more than any other Greek athlete. His highest ranking position was second in 1970.[7]


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
1966 European Championships Budapest, Hungary 2nd 5.05
1967 Mediterranean Games Tunis, Tunisia 1st 5.15 CR
1968 Olympic Games Mexico City, Mexico 4th 5.35
1970 Universiade Turin, Italy 2nd 5.42
1971 Mediterranean Games İzmir, Turkey 1st 5.20 CR
1972 Olympic Games Munich, West Germany 11th 5.00


External links[edit]

Preceded by
East Germany Wolfgang Nordwig
Men's Pole Vault World Record Holder
October 24, 1970 – April 8, 1972
Succeeded by
Sweden Kjell Isaksson