Host City: Stockholm, Sweden
Venue(s): Stockholm Olympic Stadium, Stockholm
Date Started: July 10, 1912
Date Finished: July 11, 1912
|Silver:|| Frank Nelson
|Bronze:|| William Halpenny
In this era, the United States absolutely dominated pole vaulting. In fact, the final came down to 11 vaulters, eight of them American, with lone athletes from Canada, Germany, and Sweden. There was no clear American favorite.
A review of recent performances shows how open the competition would be among the United States’ vaulters. The most recent AAU titles had been won as follows: 1909 - Roy Paulding, 1910 - [Harry Babcock], and 1911 - a three-way tie between [Ed Cook], [Frank Coyle], and [Sam Bellah]. Cook was the defending Olympic champion, having shared the 1908 gold medal with [A. C. Gilbert]. The three U.S. Olympic trials, went as follows: Western - Bellah won; Central - [Frank Murphy] won, with Coyle second; and Eastern - [Marc Wright] won, with [Frank Nelson] second.
The world record had also taken a recent beating by the American vault crew. At the beginning of 1912, the mark stood at 3.93, set in Boulder, Colorado on 27 May 1910 by Leland Scott. But at the IC4A title in Philadelphia on 1 June 1912, Yale’s Robert Gardner won, clearing 3.985 (13-1), the first 13-foot vault. The mark lasted only a week, as Marc Wright won the eastern Olympic Trial with the first four-metre vault, clearing 13-2¼ (4.02).
Of the above mentioned American vaulters, all but Cook, Gilbert, Paulding, and Gardner competed at Stockholm, giving the United States six top vaulters from which to choose. Among other nations, the Swedes championed [Bertil Uggla], while Canada sent [William Halpenny], who had been United States’ AAU champion in 1908 and would win the Canadian championship in 1911-1913.
The final six vaulters came down to Uggla, Halpenny, and four Americans - Babcock, Nelson, Wright and Murphy. At 3.85 metres, Halpenny had to withdraw, having broken two ribs in clearing 3.80. He was joined by Uggla and Murphy who failed to clear 3.85. At 3.85, Harold Babcock cleared on his first attempt, while Nelson and Wright needed two efforts. But when the bar was raised to 3.95, only Babcock was successful, again on one attempt. He took three shots at a new world record of 4.06 (13-3¾) but failed.
|1||Harry Babcock||21||United States||USA||Gold||OR|
|2T||Frank Nelson||24||United States||USA||Silver||OR|
|2T||Marc Wright||22||United States||USA||Silver||OR|
|3T||Frank Murphy||22||United States||USA||Bronze||OR|
|7||Sam Bellah||24||United States||USA||OR|
|8T||Frank Coyle||25||United States||USA|
|8T||Gordon Dukes||23||United States||USA|
|8T||Bill Fritz||20||United States||USA|
|12T QR||Carl Hårleman||25||Sweden||SWE|
|12T QR||Richard Sjöberg||21||Sweden||SWE|
|12T QR||Clas Gille||24||Sweden||SWE|
|15 QR||Fernand Gonder||28||France||FRA|
|16T QR||Fritz Bøchen Vikke||28||Denmark||DEN|
|16T QR||Ulrich Baasch||22||Russia||RUS|
|18T QR||Viktor Franzl||19||Austria||AUT|
|18T QR||Georgios Banikas||23||Greece||GRE|
|18T QR||Magnus Nilsson||23||Sweden||SWE|
|18T QR||Hugo Svensson||21||Sweden||SWE|
|18T QR||Sander Santesson||25||Sweden||SWE|
|23T QR||Jindřich Jirsák||27||Bohemia||BOH|
|23T QR||Manlio Legat||22||Italy||ITA|
|NP QR||Johann Martin||19||Russia||RUS|