Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Imperial Sports Field, Berlin
Date Started: August 5, 1936
Date Finished: August 5, 1936
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.
|1||Earle Meadows||23||United States||USA||Gold||OR|
|4||Bill Sefton||21||United States||USA|
|5||Bill Graber||25||United States||USA|
|6T||Dick Webster||21||Great Britain||GBR|
|17T||Andries du Plessis||25||South Africa||RSA|
|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|