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Athletics at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Men's Pole Vault

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Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki
Date Started: July 21, 1952
Date Finished: July 22, 1952

Gold: USA Bob Richards
Silver: USA Don Laz
Bronze: SWE Ragnar Lundberg


There were 19 qualifiers which led to a five-hour final. [Bob Richards], bronze medalist from 1948, was the favorite, having won the 1949-51 AAU and tieing in 1952 with [Don Laz], also present in Helsinki. They were the class of the Olympic final, having no misses thru 4.40 (14-5¼) and then were the only two vaulters to clear 4.50 (14-9), both on their second attempts. The competition was thus tied to that point, but Richards made 4.55 (14-11) on his third try to win the gold medal. The best European was Sweden’s [Ragnar Lundberg], 1950 European Champion, and he won the bronze medal. He and Soviet [Pyotr Denisenko] tied at 4.40 (14-5¼), both clearing on the first attempt, and had the same number of misses, but Lundberg had taken one less jump, which was the third tie-breaking rule in this era.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinal RoundQualifying Round

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Bob Richards 26 United States USA Gold OR
2 Don Laz 23 United States USA Silver OR
3 Ragnar Lundberg 27 Sweden SWE Bronze OR
4 Petro Denysenko 31 Soviet Union URS OR
5 Valto Olenius 31 Finland FIN
6 Bunkichi Sawada 31 Japan JPN
7 Volodymyr Brazhnyk 27 Soviet Union URS
8 Viktor Knyazev 27 Soviet Union URS
9 George Mattos 22 United States USA
10 Erkki Kataja 28 Finland FIN
11T Tamás Homonnay 26 Hungary HUN
11T Lennart Lind 22 Sweden SWE
13 Milan Milakov 22 Yugoslavia YUG
14T Rigas Efstathiadis 20 Greece GRE
14T Torfi Bryngeirsson 25 Iceland ISL
16 Erling Kaas 36 Norway NOR
17 Theodosios Balafas 28 Greece GRE
18T Jukka Piironen 26 Finland FIN
18T Zeno Dragomir 29 Romania ROU
20 QR Walter Hofstetter 29 Switzerland SUI
21 QR Ron Miller 22 Canada CAN
22T QR Geoff Elliott 21 Great Britain GBR
22T QR Tim Anderson 26 Great Britain GBR
22T QR Zenon Ważny 22 Poland POL
25 QR Hélcio da Silva 24 Brazil BRA
26 QR Gamal El-Din El-Sherbini 28 Egypt EGY
AC QR Georgios Roubanis 22 Greece GRE
AC QR José Vicente 30 Puerto Rico PUR