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Athletics at the 1952 Summer Olympics – Men's pole vault

These are the official results of the men's pole vault event at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. The final was held on Tuesday July 22, 1952.[1]

Men's pole vault
at the Games of the XV Olympiad
VenueHelsinki Olympic Stadium
DatesJuly 21 (qualification)
July 22 (final)
1st, gold medalist(s) Bob Richards  United States
2nd, silver medalist(s) Don Laz  United States
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Ragnar Lundberg  Sweden
← 1948
1956 →
Video on YouTube amateur film


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.

Date Event Athlete Time OR WR
22 July Final   Bob Richards (USA) 4.55 m OR


Qualifying roundEdit

Qualification Criteria: Qualifying Performance 4.00 m advance to the Final.

Rank Group Athlete Nationality Best height Notes
1 A Petro Denysenko   Soviet Union 4.00
1 A Tamás Homonnay   Hungary 4.00
1 B Erkki Kataja   Finland 4.00
1 B Ragnar Lundberg   Sweden 4.00
1 B Jukka Piironen   Finland 4.00
6 A Zeno Dragomir   Romania 4.00
6 B Don Laz   United States 4.00
6 B Lennart Lind   Sweden 4.00
6 B George Mattos   United States 4.00
6 B Bob Richards   United States 4.00
11 A Rigas Efstathiadis   Greece 4.00
11 B Erling Kaas   Norway 4.00
13 B Valto Olenius   Finland 4.00
14 B Viktor Knyazev   Soviet Union 4.00
15 A Volodymyr Brazhnyk   Soviet Union 4.00
16 A Theodosios Balafas   Greece 4.00
16 A Torfy Bryngeirsson   Iceland 4.00
18 B Bunkichi Sawada   Japan 4.00
19 B Milan Milakov   Yugoslavia 4.00
20 A Walter Hofstetter   Switzerland 3.90
21 B Ron Miller   Canada 3.90
22 A Tim Anderson   Great Britain 3.80
22 A Geoff Elliott   Great Britain 3.80
22 B Zenon Ważny   Poland 3.80
25 A Hélcio da Silva   Brazil 3.60
26 A Gamal El-Din El-Sherbini   Egypt 3.60
B Georgios Roubanis   Greece NM
B José Vicente   Puerto Rico NM


The final was held on July 20.

Rank Athlete Nationality 3.60 3.80 3.95 4.10 4.20 4.30 4.40 4.50 4.55 4.60 Result
  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
  Ragnar Lundberg   Sweden o o xo o xxx 4.40
4 Petro Denysenko   Soviet Union o o xo o o xxx 4.40
5 Valto Olenius   Finland o xo xo xxx 4.30
6 Bunkichi Sawada   Japan o xxo o o xxx 4.20
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
10 Erkki Kataja   Finland o o xxx 4.10
11 Tamás Homonnay   Hungary o o o xxx 4.10
11 Lennart Lind   Sweden o O o xxx 4.10
13 Milan Milakov   Yugoslavia o xo xo xxx 4.10
14 Rigas Efstathiadis   Greece o o xxx 3.95
14 Torfy Bryngeirsson   Iceland o o xxx 3.95
16 Erling Kaas   Norway o xxx 3.80
17 Theodosios Balafas   Greece o o xxx 3.80
18 Jukka Piironen   Finland xo xx 3.80
18 Zeno Dragomir   Romania xo xx 3.80


  1. ^ "Athletics at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games: Men's Pole Vault". Retrieved 3 January 2018.

External linksEdit