|Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives |
from California's 18th district
January 3, 1967 –January 3, 1975
|Preceded by||Harlan Hagen|
|Succeeded by||William M. Ketchum|
Robert Bruce Mathias
November 17, 1930
Tulare, California, U.S.
|Died||September 2, 2006 75) (aged|
Fresno, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Melba Mathias (1954–1976)|
Gwen Haven Alexander (1977–2006)
|Education||Stanford University (BA)|
|Height||190 cm (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||92 kg (203 lb)|
|Club||Olympic Club, San Francisco;|
|Sports achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)||100 m – 10.8 (1952)|
400 m – 50.2 (1952)
110 mH – 13.8 (1952)
HJ – 1.90 m (1952)
PV – 4.00 m (1952)
LJ – 7.15 m (1952)
SP – 15.82 m (1953)
DT – 52.83 m (1951)
JT – 62.20 m (1952)
Dec – 7592 (1952)
Robert Bruce Mathias (November 17, 1930 – September 2, 2006) was an American decathlete, two-time Olympic gold medalist in the event, a United States Marine Corps officer, actor and United States Congressman representing the state of California.
Mathias was born in Tulare, California. He attended Tulare Union High School,where he was a classmate and long time friend of Sim Iness, the 1952 Olympic discus gold medalist. While at Tulare Union in early 1948, Mathias took up the decathlon at the suggestion of his track coach, Virgil Jackson. During the summer following his high school graduation, he qualified for the United States Olympic team for the 1948 Summer Olympics held in London.
In the Olympics, Mathias's naïveté about the decathlon was exposed.He was unaware of the rules in the shot put and nearly fouled out of the event. He almost failed in the high jump but was able to recover. Mathias overcame his difficulties and with superior pole vault and javelin scores was able to push past Ignace Heinrich to win the Olympic gold medal. At age 17, he became the youngest gold medalist in a track and field event.
Mathias continued to fare well in decathlons in the four years between the London games and the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.In 1948, Mathias won the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete, but because his scholastic record in high school did not match his athletic achievement, he spent a year at The Kiski School, a well-respected all-boys boarding school in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania. He then entered Stanford University in 1949, played college football for two years and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Mathias set his first decathlon world record in 1950 and led Stanford to a Rose Bowl appearance in 1952, the first nationally televised college football game.
After graduating from Stanford in 1953 with a BA in Education, Mathias spent two and a half years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was promoted to the rank of captain and was honorably discharged.
At Helsinki in 1952, Mathias established himself as one of the world's greatest all-around athletes. He won the decathlon by the astounding margin of 912 points, which established a new world record, and he became the first person to successfully defend an Olympic decathlon title.He returned to the United States as a national hero. His 7,887 point total at the Helsinki Olympics remained the school record at Stanford for 63 years until it was broken in 2015 by a freshman, Harrison Williams. In 1952, he was the first person to compete in an Olympics and a Rose Bowl the same year.
After the 1952 Olympics, Mathias retired from athletic competition. He later became the first director of the United States Olympic Training Center, a post he held from 1977 to 1983.
He and his wife Melba can be seen on the 29th April 1954 edition of You Bet Your Life . During the discussion he mentions a forthcoming film in which the couple played themselves, called The Bob Mathias Story. He also starred in a number of mostly cameo-type roles in a variety of movies and TV shows throughout the 1950s. In the 1959–1960 television season, Mathias played Frank Dugan, with costars Keenan Wynn as Kodiak and Chet Allen as Slats, in the TV series The Troubleshooters , which focused 26 episodes on events at construction sites.In 1960, he also appeared playing an athletic Theseus in an Italian "peplum," or sword-and-sandal, film: Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete.
Between 1967 and 1975, Mathias served four terms in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican, representing the northern San Joaquin Valley of California.(These were the same eight years in which Ronald Reagan served two terms as governor of California.) He defeated Harlan Hagen, the 14-year Democratic Party incumbent, by about 11% in the 1966 election. This was not too surprising because this area started to move away from its New Deal Democratic roots.
Mathias was re-elected three times without serious difficulty, but in 1974, his district was significantly redrawn in a mid-decade redistricting. His district was renumbered as the 17th District, and picked up a large chunk of Fresno while losing several rural areas. Mathias was narrowly defeated for re-election by John Hans Krebs, a member of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Mathias was one of several Republicans swept out in the wake of the Watergate scandal.
From June to August 1975, Mathias served as the deputy director of the Selective Service. Mathias also was involved in the unsuccessful 1976 presidential re-election campaign of Gerald Ford.
Bob Mathias was diagnosed with cancer in 1996, and died as a result in Fresno, California on September 2, 2006 at age 75. He is interred at Tulare Cemetery in Tulare, California. He was survived by wife Gwen, daughters Romel, Megan, Marissa, step daughter Alyse Alexander, son Reiner, brothers Eugene and Jim, and sister Patricia Guerrero.
|November 17, 1930||Bob Mathias was born, the second of four children (including older brother Eugene, younger brother James, and younger sister Patricia), to Dr. Charles and Lillian Mathias.|
|1948||At age seventeen, graduated from Tulare high school after an illustrious high school athletic career in football and track and field. Wins National Decathlon Championship at Bloomfield, N.J. According to the movie (starring himself and his wife) "the Bob Mathias Story" he actually did not have enough credits to graduate from high school, after concentrating solely on all the events of the decathlon- and get into Stanford, so his parents sent him to a prep school out of town where he could make up his academic shortcomings and get into college, as he wanted to be a doctor like his father and older brother Eugene. |
He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team and went on to win gold medal in decathlon at the Summer Olympic Games in London, England.
After huge celebration and parade in Tulare, presented with "Key to the City" by Mayor Elmo Zumwalt. Enrolls at Kiskiminetas Prep School, Saltsburg, Pa. Honored with the James E. Sullivan Award, presented each year to America's top amateur athlete.
|1949||Won National Decathlon Championship at meet held in Tulare. |
Enrolled at Stanford University, where he starred in track and field and in gridiron football.
|1950||Won National Decathlon Championship at a meet held in Tulare.|
|1951||Mathias played football during junior and senior years at Stanford. In the University of Southern California vs. Stanford football game, Mathias returned U.S.C.'s Frank Gifford's kick-off 96 yards for a touchdown. |
Spent the summer at U.S. Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego, California.
|1952||On New Year's Day, he played fullback for Stanford University in the Rose Bowl.|
|1953||Graduated from Stanford and commissioned as a 2nd Lt in the U.S. Marine Corps. Drafted by the Washington Redskins, though he never played in National Football League.|
|1954||Married his first wife Melba. They later had three daughters, Romel, Megan, and Marissa. Mathias and his wife starred in the movie The Bob Mathias Story . |
Entered active duty in the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant.
|1954–56||Visited more than forty countries as America's Good Will Ambassador.|
|1956–60||Continued work for the state department as a good will ambassador to the world. |
Acting career took off, employed by John Wayne's Batjac Productions. Starred in the movie "China Doll", the TV series The Troubleshooters, the movie "Theseus and the Minotaur" and in the movie It Happened in Athens.
|1966||Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican, serving four two-year terms.|
|1974||Lost his re-election for fifth term.|
Inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame
|1976||Mathias and Melba are divorced.|
|1977||Appointed director of U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. |
Bob and Gwen Haven Alexander married. Gwen has one daughter, Alyse Haven (1968-2014), from a prior marriage to Bill Alexander, former U.S. Congressman. On Tuesday, September 14, 1999, Alyse's three children died in a house fire believed to be intentionally set by the children's father. Bob also has a son Reiner from a prior relationship.
Tulare high school stadium renamed in Mathias's honor.
|1983||Appointed executive director of the National Fitness Foundation. |
Inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame
|1988||Returned to the Central Valley, in rural Fresno County.|
|1996||Olympian Sim Iness died. He was Mathias's high school classmate and teammate at the 1952 Olympics. |
Doctors discovered a cancerous tumor in Mathias's throat.
|June 6, 1998||A tribute dinner honoring Mathias on the 50th anniversary of his first Olympic medal was held in Tulare. More than 300 people from throughout the state attended, including Olympic medal-winners Sammy Lee, Bill Toomey, Dave Johnson and Pat McCormick, and Sim Iness' widow, Dolores.|
|1954||The Bob Mathias Story||Himself|
|1958||China Doll||Capt. Phil Gates|
|1960||Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete||Theseus|
|1962||It Happened in Athens||Coach Graham||(final film role)|
Tulare is a city in Tulare County, California. The population was 59,278 at the 2010 census.
Robert Eugene Richards is an American retired athlete, minister, and politician. He made three U.S. Olympic Teams in two events: the 1948, 1952, and 1956 Summer Olympics as a pole vaulter and as a decathlete in 1956. He won gold medals in pole vault in both 1952 and 1956, becoming the only male two-time champion in the event in Olympic history.
Francis Morgan Ayodélé Thompson,, known as Daley Thompson, is a British former decathlete. He won the decathlon gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984, and broke the world record for the event four times.
Rafer Lewis Johnson was an American decathlete and film actor. He was the 1960 Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, having won silver in 1956. He had previously won a gold in the 1955 Pan American Games. He was the USA team's flag bearer at the 1960 Olympics and lit the Olympic cauldron at the Los Angeles Games in 1984.
Milton Gray Campbell was an American decathlete of the 1950s. In 1956, he became the first African American to win the gold medal in the decathlon of the Summer Olympic Games.
Glenn Edgar Morris was a U.S. track and field athlete. He won a gold medal in the Olympic decathlon in 1936, setting new world and Olympic records. He was also an occasional actor, he portrayed Tarzan in Tarzan's Revenge.
Alma Wilford Richards was an American athlete. He was the first resident of Utah to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games, in 1912, in the running high jump event.
Bryan Ezra Tsumoru Clay is an American decathlete who was the 2008 Summer Olympic champion for the decathlon and was also World champion in 2005.
Chris Huffins is an athlete from the United States who competed in the field of Decathlon. He was the Director and Head Coach of the Men's and Women's Track and Field and Cross Country programs at the University of California from 2002 to 2007. He married Monique Parker in 1997 with whom he had one son Zachary. He earned a degree from the University of California in Political Economies of Industrial Societies in 2007. Huffins is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He is currently married to Tamika Huffins with whom he had another son, Jaxon.
Simeon "Sim" Garland Iness was an American discus thrower who won a gold medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics, breaking the Olympic record several times in the process. Next year he set a new world record at 57.93 m.
Tulare Union High School is a public school for secondary education in Tulare, California, United States. This high school is part of the Tulare Joint Union High School District, along with Tulare Western High School and Mission Oak High School, led by Superintendent Tony Rodriguez. Enrollment at the four-year high school is approximately 1,650 for the current school year.
Steffen Grummt is an East German decathlete who competed from the late 1970s to 1983. He later competed in bobsleigh in the mid-1980s.
Heino Lipp was an Estonian athlete, who was one of the greatest decathlete in the decade of the 1940s, but he was never able to compete in the Olympic Games, because citizens of the Soviet Union were never allowed to travel outside the Soviet Union dominated Iron Curtain countries. He also competed in the shot put, making 6 European records in the event.
James Edward "Trey" Hardee III is a retired American track and field athlete who specialized in the combined events. He is a former NCAA Champion, a two-time World Outdoor Champion, a member of the United States 2008 Olympic team, and the silver medalist in the decathlon at the London 2012 Olympics. He was Inducted into the Texas Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2018.
John Flint Hanner was an American track and field athlete and coach. He qualified for the 1920 Summer Olympics, won the first NCAA javelin championship in 1921 and later worked as the track coach at Fresno State University for 35 years. He was also one of the founders and the long-time director of the West Coast Relays.
James Stallworth is an American track and field athlete, primarily known for the long jump. He currently holds the NFHS High School Record for the long jump, with a jump of 26' 4.75," 8.04 metres set while winning the CIF California State High School Championships in Norwalk, California on June 3, 1989. Stallworth attended Tulare Union High School, the same high school as the famous two time Olympic Decathlon champion Bob Mathias and Discus Gold Medalist Sim Iness.
Michael H. Barnett is an American athlete who competes in the javelin. He competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics, finishing 7th.
Irving "Moon" Mondschein was an American track and field athlete and football player.
The Men's decathlon at the 1952 Summer Olympics took place on 25 and 26 July, at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium. Now 21-year-old Bob Mathias from the United States repeated his performances from the previous games by winning the gold medal and setting new world and Olympic records. It was the second time the United States Olympic team earned all three medals in the event, the first one being in the 1936 Olympic Games.
Mike Gonzales is a former United States decathlete.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bob Mathias .|