Jeff Hartwig

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Jeff Hartwig
Jeff Hartwig 2008.JPG
Medal record
Men’s athletics
Representing the  United States
World Indoor Championships
Silver medal – second place Maebashi 1999 Pole vault

Jeff Hartwig (born September 25, 1967 in St. Louis, Missouri) is an American pole vaulter.


In 1998, Hartwig set two North American records with 6.00 and 6.01 metres. The latter was an improvement of 16 centimetres from his personal best of 5.85 m from 1997. In 1999, he won US national championships by improving his own record to 6.02 metres, and his current North American record of 6.03 metres followed in 2000. His personal best indoor is 6.02 metres, also an area record. Only Renaud Lavillenie, Sergey Bubka and Steven Hooker have jumped higher in an indoor competition.

With 5.86 metres on 4 July 2004, Hartwig holds the world's best performance for men over 35 years. He also has the world's best performance for men over 40 years at 5.70 metres (18-8.25), achieved while placing second at the U.S. Olympic Trials, 29 June 2008.

Hartwig has received the Jim Thorpe Award as the best American field events athlete in 1998 and 1999.[1]

Jeff vaulted at Francis Howell High School (Weldon Spring, Missouri) and collegiately for Florissant Valley Community College and Arkansas State University. He has trained under the tutelage of USATF Hall of Famer and former world record holder Earl Bell for a number of years. Hartwig has been hired as the pole vault coach for MICDS High School in St. Louis.

Aside from vaulting Hartwig also had another passion, reptiles. For over 15 years Jeff has been raising reptiles - mostly boas and pythons, but also tortoises, monitors, iguanas, and caimans. Jeff's first snake was a Burmese python, which he "inherited" from another vaulter. It was 1992 when Jeff decided to give breeding a shot and was very successful in producing 23 baby pythons.

Hartwig and girlfriend Laura raise the snakes to sell to pet stores. Jeff has been known to have more than 100 snakes on the premises. None of the snakes that Jeff raises are venomous. In his freetime, Jeff also enjoys visiting zoos and giving presentations to local schools in his former hometown of Jonesboro, Arkansas. Jeff's coach Earl Bell has referred to him as a ‘modern-day Tarzan’.


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing the  United States
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, United States 12th
1998 Goodwill Games Uniondale, United States 1st 6.01 m AR, =CR
1999 World Indoor Championships Maebashi, Japan 2nd
2002 World Cup Madrid, Spain 2nd
IAAF Grand Prix Final Paris, France 1st
2003 World Athletics Final Monte Carlo, Monaco 4th
2004 World Athletics Final Monte Carlo, Monaco 6th


Hartwig has steadily climbed the Track and Field News world rankings, peaking at number 1 in 2002.[2]

Year Event World ranking US ranking
1995 Pole vault - 9th
1996 Pole vault - 4th
1997 Pole vault - 5th
1998 Pole vault 2nd 1st
1999 Pole vault 2nd 1st
2000 Pole vault 3rd 2nd
2001 Pole vault 2nd 1st
2002 Pole vault 1st 1st

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Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ukraine Sergey Bubka
Men's Pole Vault Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Russia Maxim Tarasov
Preceded by
Russia Maxim Tarasov
Men's Pole Vault Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Australia Dmitriy Markov
Preceded by
Australia Dmitriy Markov
Men's Pole Vault Best Year Performance
alongside Tim Lobinger (GER)

Succeeded by
France Romain Mesnil