Athletics at the 1952 Summer Olympics – Men's pole vault
|Men's pole vault|
at the Games of the XV Olympiad
|Venue||Helsinki Olympic Stadium|
|Dates||July 21 (qualification)|
July 22 (final)
Bob Richards was the returning bronze medalist. His closest domestic competitor was Don Laz, who shared the US championship earlier in the year after 4 years of Richards dominance. In the final both remained clean to 4.40m, just ahead of Ragnar Lundberg and Petro Denysenko, who each had one miss earlier. Lundberg had passed at 4.10m, which became significant because neither could go any higher. While modern rules would make that a tie, in that era, the third tiebreaker was the number of attempts, which gave Lundberg the bronze medal. Both Richards and Laz cleared the next height, 4.50m on their second attempts, still tied. They remained tied to their final attempt at 4.60 m (15 ft 1 in) when Laz missed and Richards cleared it to take his first gold medal. Richards defended the championship four years later, jumping 1 cm higher and went on to Wheaties box fame. No other man has defended the pole vault title, though Yelena Isinbayeva defended the women's title in 2008.
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Cornelius Warmerdam (USA)||4.77 m||Modesto, United States||23 May 1942|
|Olympic record||Earle Meadows (USA)||4.35 m||Berlin, Germany||5 August 1936|
The following Olympic record was set during this competition.
|22 July||Final||Bob Richards (USA)||4.55 m||OR|
Qualification Criteria: Qualifying Performance 4.00 m advance to the Final.
The final was held on July 20.
|Bob Richards||United States||–||–||o||o||o||o||o||xo||xxo||xxx||4.55 OR|
|Don Laz||United States||–||–||o||o||o||o||o||xo||xxx||4.50|
|4||Petro Denysenko||Soviet Union||–||–||o||o||xo||o||o||xxx||4.40|
|7||Volodymyr Brazhnyk||Soviet Union||–||o||o||o||xo||xxx||4.20|
|8||Viktor Knyazev||Soviet Union||–||o||o||xo||xo||xxx||4.20|
|9||George Mattos||United States||–||–||o||xo||xxo||xxx||4.20|
- "Athletics at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games: Men's Pole Vault". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- Official Olympic Report, la84.org.