You Are Here > SR/Olympics > Athletes > Don Laz

Don Laz

Full name: Donald Robert "Don" Laz
Gender: Male
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
Weight: 181 lbs (82 kg)
Born: May 17, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: February 21, 1996 in Champaign, Illinois, United States
Country: USA United States
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Silver (1 Total)

Biography

Don Laz of the University of Illinois won the NCAA pole vault in 1951 and tied George Mattos for the 1953 AAU title. These were his only major championship honors, but he came desperately close to winning the 1952 Olympic gold medal as Bob Richards cleared the winning height on his final attempt to eliminate the need for a jump-off. At the Ohio Relays in 1954, Laz cleared 15-2 (4.62) to become the second-best vaulter of all time, behind only the legendary Dutch Warmerdam. However, the family record now stands to the credit of his son, Doug, who cleared 17-4¾ (5.38) in 1976. At the 1955 Pan American Games pole vault Don Laz won a bronze medal. In 1960, Laz sued CBS and the Ford Motor Co. for invasion of privacy after a film of him vaulting had been used in a TV commercial. The case was eventually settled out of court. Don Laz became an architect in Champaign, Illinois, but his career was tragically handicapped when he suffered a stroke.

Personal Best: PV – 4.65i (1952).

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics Men's Pole Vault United States USA 2 Silver OR

Men's Pole Vault

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank BHC MBHC TMBHC TABHC C/F/P
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Final Round 2 OR 4.50 1 1 7
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Final Round 3.60 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Final Round 3.80 metres NP p 0 0 0 NH
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Final Round 3.95 metres 1T o 0 0 1 3.95
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Final Round 4.10 metres 2T o 0 0 2 4.10
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Final Round 4.20 metres 2T o 0 0 3 4.20
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Final Round 4.30 metres 1T o 0 0 4 4.30
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Final Round 4.40 metres 1T OR o 0 0 5 4.40
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Final Round 4.50 metres 1T OR xo 0 1 7 4.50
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Final Round 4.55 metres 2 xxx 1 1 7 4.50
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Qualifying Round 6T QU 4.00 0 0 3
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Qualifying Round Group B 4T 4.00 0 0 3
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Qualifying Round Group B 3.80 metres 1T 3.80 0 0 1 o
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Qualifying Round Group B 3.90 metres 1T 3.90 0 0 2 o
1952 Summer 23 Helsinki Athletics United States Qualifying Round Group B 4.00 metres 4T 4.00 0 0 3 o