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Athletics at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games:

Men's Pole Vault

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Imperial Sports Field, Berlin
Date Started: August 5, 1936
Date Finished: August 5, 1936

Gold: USA Earle Meadows
Silver: JPN Shuhei Nishida
Bronze: JPN Sueo Oe

Summary

The AAU Champion in 1936 was George Varoff, who broke the world record in winning that title, but he did not make the US team. The three US vaulters, Earle Meadows, Bill Sefton, and Bill Graber, were favored with little to choose among them. Graber had been favored in 1932 and finished out of the medals in fourth. In 1936, he would suffer a similar fate, placing fifth. Four vaulters went over 4.25 (13-11¼) – Meadows, Sefton, and two Japanese, the 1932 silver medalist, Shuhei Nishida, and Sueo Oe. But at 4.35 (14-3¼), only Meadows succeeded, clearing on his second attempt, and he had the gold medal.

Nishida, Oe, and Sefton went to a jump-off at 4.15 (13-7¼), with Sefton missing and out of the medals. It has been written more recently that the Japanese places were decided by lot or a coin toss, placing Nishida second and Oe third. However, it appears that after Sefton had been eliminated in the jump-off, the Japanese officials stepped in and chose Nishida to receive the silver medal and Oe the bronze. Several reasons are given in contemporary German sources – 1) Nishida was older, and 2) Nishida had cleared 4.25 on his first jump, while Oe failed once at that height. While there is some justification for listing both as equal second, we follow the 1936 Official Report which has Nishida second and Oe third. However, back in Japan, Nishida and Oe took their medals, cut them apart, and combined them into a half-silver, half-bronze medal, the only two of their type ever created.

The lack of countback rules resulted in an 11-way tie for sixth. One of those in =6th was Canadian Syl Apps, one of Canada’s greatest-ever athletes. He later played for 10 years with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Earle Meadows 23 United States USA Gold OR
2 Shuhei Nishida 26 Japan JPN Silver
3 Sueo Oe 22 Japan JPN Bronze
4 Bill Sefton 21 United States USA
5 Bill Graber 25 United States USA
6T Kiyoshi Adachi 22 Japan JPN
6T Syl Apps 21 Canada CAN
6T Péter Bácsalmási 27 Hungary HUN
6T Josef Haunzwickel 20 Austria AUT
6T Danilo Innocenti 32 Italy ITA
6T Jan Korejs 29 Czechoslovakia TCH
6T Bo Ljungberg 24 Sweden SWE
6T Alfred Proksch 27 Austria AUT
6T Wilhelm Schneider 29 Poland POL
6T Dick Webster 21 Great Britain GBR
6T Viktor Zsuffka 26 Hungary HUN
17T Andries du Plessis 24 South Africa RSA
17T Ernst Larsen 26 Denmark DEN
17T Julius Müller 33 Germany GER
17T Miroslav Klásek 23 Czechoslovakia TCH
17T Fu Baolu 23 China CHN
17T Pierre Ramadier 34 France FRA
17T Siegfried Schulz 26 Germany GER
24 Adolfo Schlegel 36 Chile CHI
25 André Crépin 28 France FRA
26T QR Aulis Reinikka 20 Finland FIN
26T QR Evald Äärma 24 Estonia EST
26T QR Jaša Bakov 29 Yugoslavia YUG
29T QR Guillermo Chirichigno Peru PER
29T QR Rigoberto Pérez 23 Mexico MEX