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Most Successful Male Pole Vaulters at the Summer Olympics

Renaud Lavillenie competes in the Men
Renaud Lavillenie competes in the Men's Pole Vault Final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 18 Feb 2021
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The Pole Vault at the Summer Olympics comes under the track and field jumping events held at the Olympic Games.

The men's pole vault has been part of the Summer Olympics since 1896, when the first Summer Olympics was held. The women's pole vault was recently added to the program at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

With the Tokyo Olympics coming upon us, let's take a look at the 5 Most Successful Male Pole Vaulters at the Summer Olympics.

(Note - Ranking is based on gold medal count. If athletes have an equal number of gold medals, then the number of silver medals, and further bronze medals, are used as the deciding factors for the rankings).


#5 - Wolfgang Nordwig - German Democratic Republic - 1968, 1972

(Ranking - Athlete - Country - Years of Olympic Participation)

Total - 2 (Gold - 1, Silver - 0, Bronze - 1)

Wolfgang Nordwig won bronze in the pole vault at the 1968 Summer Olympics with a vault of 5.40m.

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Four years later, Nordwig claimed the gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich with a vault of 5.50m.


#5 - Maksim Tarasov - Russia - 1992, 2000

Total - 2 (Gold - 1, Silver - 0, Bronze - 1)

Gold Medal winner Nick Hysong of the USA stands with Lawrence Johnson of the USA who wins the Silver and Maksim Tarasov who wins the Bronze in the Mens Pole Vault during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games
Gold Medal winner Nick Hysong of the USA stands with Lawrence Johnson of the USA who wins the Silver and Maksim Tarasov who wins the Bronze in the Mens Pole Vault during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games

Maksim Tarasov won the gold medal with a vault of 5.80m at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Tarasov also took home the bronze with a 5.90m vault at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.


#2 - Bob Seagren - USA - 1968, 1972

Total - 2 (Gold - 1, Silver - 1, Bronze - 0)

Bob Seagren
Bob Seagren

American Bob Seagen won the gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico with a vault of 5.40m.

Four years later, at the Summer Olympics in Munich, Seagren won silver with a vault of the same height.


#2 - Tadeusz Slusarski - Poland - 1972, 1976, 1980

Total - 2 (Gold - 1, Silver - 1, Bronze - 0)

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Poland's Tadeusz Slusarski won gold at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal with a vault of 5.50 m.

He also won silver at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow with a vault of 5.65m.


#2 - Renaud Lavillenie - France - 2012, 2016

Total - 2 (Gold - 1, Silver 1, Bronze - 0)

Renaud Lavillenie of France competes in the Men
Renaud Lavillenie of France competes in the Men's Pole Vault Final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

France's Renaud Lavillenie won gold in the men's pole vault at the 2012 Summer Olympics by clearing 5.97m, which was a new Olympic record at the time.

Lavillenie also won silver in the pole vault at the 2016 Rio Games, going down to home favorite Hiago Braz Da Silva.

The French pole vaulter has set his sights on reclaiming the Olympic title in Tokyo later this year.

“Age doesn’t worry me," Lavillenie said about his plans for the future. “I’ve had good years and bad years. But I still love to vault and to train. I’m aiming for 2020 because I want to get back on the Olympic podium, on the top step if possible.”

#1 - Bob Richards - USA - 1948, 1952, 1956

Total - 3 (Gold - 2, Silver - 0, Bronze - 1)

American pole vaulter Bob Richards in action at the London Olympics 1948.
American pole vaulter Bob Richards in action at the London Olympics 1948.

American Bob Richards won his first pole vault medal - a bronze - at the Summer Olympics in London in 1948.

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Richards went on to win the gold medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics with a vault of 4.55m and defended his title at the Summer Olympics in 1956 with a vault of 4.56m.

He is the only person to win the pole vault twice and is the only vaulter to earn three medals at the Summer Olympics.


Notable Mention - Sergey Bubka - Ukraine - 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000

Total - 1 (Gold - 1, Silver - 0, Bronze - 0)

Sergey Bubka
Sergey Bubka

For many, the sport of men's pole vaulting has a strong association with Ukraine's Sergey Bubka.

Bubka has broken the world record in the men's pole vault an incredible 35 times, many of which were 1 centimeter at a time

However, Bubka does not figure in this list since he has 1 Olympic medal (a gold at the 1988 Summer Olympics) to his credit.

Bubka could not take part in the Summer Olympics in 1984 due to the boycott of the Soviet Union. He did win gold at the 1988 Seoul Games with a vault of 5.90m.

At the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and the 2000 Games in Sydney, Bubka was unable to secure a medal while he was injured for the 1996 Atlanta Games.

(With inputs from the Official Olympic website).

Published 18 Feb 2021, 05:54 IST
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