Earl Bell

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Earl Bell
Personal information
Born August 25, 1955 (1955-08-25) (age 61)

Earl H. Bell (born August 25, 1955) is a former world record-holding pole vaulter from the United States, winner of the bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics and current coach to a number of the nation's top men and women vaulters. He was born in Ancón, Panama Canal Zone and vaulted collegiately for Arkansas State University.

At his last Olympic appearance, Bell finished fourth at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. He held the world pole vaulting record for approximately a month in 1976 and set an American record of 19' 014" in San Jose, California in 1984.

In 2002, Bell was inducted into the USATF National Track and Field Hall of Fame.

Coaching career[edit]

Bell established Bell Athletics outside of Jonesboro, Arkansas where he has coached Jeff Hartwig, Derek Miles, Kellie Suttle and Jillian Schwartz, among other top pole vaulters.[1]


Rare among vaulters, Bell managed to stay relatively healthy and productive for a long career, gaining US rankings among the best for 16 consecutive years in the Track and Field News annual rankings.[2]

Year Event World ranking US ranking
1975 Pole vault 3rd 1st
1976 Pole vault 4th 2nd
1977 Pole vault 4th 2nd
1978 Pole vault - 5th
1979 Pole vault - 5th
1980 Pole vault - 6th
1981 Pole vault 6th 1st
1982 Pole vault - 4th
1983 Pole vault - 3rd
1984 Pole vault 7th 2nd
1985 Pole vault - 4th
1986 Pole vault 5th 1st
1987 Pole vault 3rd 1st
1988 Pole vault 5th 2nd
1989 Pole vault - 5th
1990 Pole vault - 3rd


External links[edit]

Preceded by
United States David Roberts
Men's Pole Vault World Record Holder
May 28, 1976 – June 22, 1976
Succeeded by
United States David Roberts