Bob Richards


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Robert Eugene Richards (born February 20, 1926) is an American retired athlete, minister, and politician. He made three U.S. Olympic Teams in two events: 1948, 1952, and 1956 Summer Olympics as a pole vaulter and as a decathlete in 1956. He won gold medals in the pole vault in 1952 and 1956, becoming the only male two-time champion in the event in Olympic history.

While still an active athlete, Richards became an ordained minister. He ran for President of the United States in 1984 on the Populist Party ticket. Richards was the second man to pole vault 15 ft (4.57 m). While a student at the University of Illinois, Richards tied for the national collegiate pole vault title and followed that with 20 national Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) titles, including 17 in the pole vault and three in the decathlon.

The first man to clear 15 feet was Dutch Warmerdam, who set the world record of 4.77 m (15 ft 7+3⁄4 in) in 1942, long before Richards came into his prime. While Richards was the dominant vaulter of his time, he never set a world record.

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