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Athletics at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games:

Men's Pole Vault

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Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico
Venue(s): University Olympic Stadium, Ciudad de México
Date Started: October 14, 1968
Date Finished: October 16, 1968

Gold: USA Bob Seagren
Silver: FRG Claus Schiprowski
Bronze: GDR Wolfgang Nordwig


As in 1964 the competition came down to an American and several Germans. The American favorites were [Bob Seagren] and [John Pennel], with Seagren considered the better. Both had set multiple world records. Six jumpers were still alive after 5.30 (17-4½) – Seagren, Pennel, [Klaus Schiprowski] (FRG), [Wolfgang Nordwig] (GDR), [Khristos Papanikolaou] (GRE), and [Gennady Bliznetsov] (URS). Bliznetsov missed at 5.35 (17-6½), and Seagren passed at that height. His pass was considered unusual and he later commented that it was his unfamiliarity with the metric system, as he did not realize that 5.35 was 17-6½, which was still a big height in that era. At 5.40 (17-8½), Pennel cleared on his second effort but his pole passed under the uprights, which was illegal in that era (the rule was changed the next year), and he would settle for 5.35 (17-6½) and fifth place. Seagren, Schiprowski and Nordwig all cleared 5.40 (17-8½), Seagren and Schiprowski on the second effort, Nordwig missing twice. When all three missed at 5.45 (17-10½), that gave Seagren the gold medal over Schiprowski based on fewer overall misses, with Nordwig getting bronze because of his three misses at 5.40 (17-8½).

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinal RoundQualifying Round

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Bob Seagren 21 United States USA Gold OR
2 Claus Schiprowski 25 West Germany FRG Silver OR
3 Wolfgang Nordwig 25 East Germany GDR Bronze OR
4 Khristos Papanikolaou 26 Greece GRE OR
5 John Pennel 28 United States USA OR
6 Hennadiy Bleznitsov 27 Soviet Union URS OR
7 Hervé d'Encausse 25 France FRA OR
8 Heinfried Engel 21 West Germany FRG OR
9 Ignacio Sola 24 Spain ESP OR
10 Kjell Isaksson 20 Sweden SWE OR
11 Kiyoshi Niwa 21 Japan JPN OR
12 Aleksandr Malyutin 29 Soviet Union URS
13 Mike Bull 22 Great Britain GBR
14 Altti Alarotu 23 Finland FIN
AC r2/2 Erkki Mustakari 22 Finland FIN
16 QR Pantelis Nikolaidis 26 Greece GRE
17 QR Enrico Barney 27 Argentina ARG
18 QR Klaus Lehnertz 30 West Germany FRG
19 QR John-Erik Blomqvist 23 Sweden SWE
20 QR Casey Carrigan 17 United States USA
21 QR Wu Ah-Min 30 Chinese Taipei TPE
22 QR Heinz Wyss 22 Switzerland SUI
AC QR Ingo Peyker 27 Austria AUT