Don Bragg in 1960
|Born||May 15, 1935|
Penns Grove, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||February 16, 2019 83) (aged|
Northern California, U.S.
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||89 kg (196 lb)|
Donald George Bragg (May 15, 1935 – February 16, 2019) was an American athlete who competed mainly in the pole vault and won a gold medal in that event at the 1960 Summer Olympics.
Pole vaulting is a track and field event in which a person uses a long flexible pole as an aid to jump over a bar. Pole jumping competitions were known to the ancient Greeks, Cretans and Celts. It has been a full medal event at the Olympic Games since 1896 for men and since 2000 for women.
The 1960 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event that was held from August 25 to September 11, 1960, in Rome, Italy. The city of Rome had previously been awarded the administration of the 1908 Summer Olympics, but following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906, Rome had no choice but to decline and pass the honour to London.
Bragg grew up in Penns Grove, New Jersey, where he attended Penns Grove High School.
Penns Grove is a borough in Salem County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 5,147, reflecting an increase of 261 (+5.3%) from the 4,886 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 342 (-6.5%) from the 5,228 counted in the 1990 Census.
Penns Grove High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school that serves students in ninth through twelfth grades from Carneys Point Township and Penns Grove in Salem County, New Jersey, United States, operating as part of the Penns Grove-Carneys Point Regional School District. A majority of students in grades 9-12 from Oldmans Township, New Jersey attend the district's high school as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Oldmans Township School District, with the balance attending Woodstown High School in the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional School District. The school is located in Carneys Point Township.
Bragg was the last of the great pole vaulters to use an aluminum pole. From 1954 until 1960, he was always world ranked and capped a championship career in 1960 by setting a world record of 15' 9¼" (4.80 m) at the Olympic Trials and winning an Olympic gold medal with a vault of 15' 5" (4.70 m). He set a world indoor record of 15' 9½" (4.81 m) at Philadelphia in 1959 and, like Hall of Famer Cornelius Warmerdam, vaulted better indoors than outdoors.
A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill or sport. The book Guinness World Records collates and publishes notable records of all types, from first and best to worst human achievements, to extremes in the natural world and beyond.
Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.
Cornelius "Dutch" Warmerdam was an American pole vaulter who held the world record between 1940 and 1957. He missed the Olympics due to World War II, and retired from senior competitions in 1944, though he continued to vault into his sixties. In 1974 he inducted into the International Association of Athletics Federations Hall of Fame.
At 6' 3" and 197 pounds, Bragg was one of the largest vaulters in history. He had to stay on a 1,200 calories (5,000 kJ) diet to stay at that weight. Any more and the aluminum alloy poles would crumple under the strain. The aluminum pole had another disadvantage: while taking it aboard a train in Philadelphia, Bragg hit an electrical line and nearly electrocuted himself.
While at Villanova University, he won the NCAA pole vault championship in 1955 and was the IC4A champion, both indoors and outdoors, from 1955 to 1957. He also tied for the AAU indoor championship. After graduating in 1957, Bragg again tied for the AAU indoor championship in 1958, then won the event from 1959 through 1961. He was also the AAU outdoor champion in 1959.
Villanova University is a private research university in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania. Named after Saint Thomas of Villanova, the school is the oldest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Nicknamed "Tarzan" because of his size and strength, Bragg's goal was to play that role in the movies. Few have so actively pursued a role. He toured Europe and Africa for the U.S. State Department as a goodwill ambassador, climbing trees and swinging from vines.He met Johnny Weissmüller, who agreed that Bragg would be perfect as Tarzan. When he won the gold at the 1960 Olympics he did the infamous Tarzan yell from the podium, shocking the crowd. He was offered the role twice, but was injured and missed both opportunities. His dream went unfulfilled.
Tarzan is a fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungle by the Mangani great apes; he later experiences civilization only to reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer. Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan first appeared in the novel Tarzan of the Apes, and subsequently in 25 sequels, several authorized books by other authors, and innumerable works in other media, both authorized and unauthorized. The film version of Tarzan as the noble savage, as acted by Johnny Weissmuller, does not reflect the original character in the novels, who is gracious and highly sophisticated.
He later became athletic director at Stockton State College (N.J.), the owner of a summer camp, and the author of A Chance to Dare: The Don Bragg Story.His time running a summer camp is chronicled in Kamp Olympik by Don and Theresa Bragg as told to Patricia Doherty.
In August 2010, Bragg made a speech in Rome at a ceremony commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the 1960 Summer Olympics. He concluded this speech with his Tarzan yell.
His younger sister Diane Bragg also learned how to pole vault by watching her brother. In 1952, long before women were pole vaulting competitively, Diane set the women's world record that stood for over 25 years.
Bragg died at his home in Northern California of dementia on February 16, 2019, aged 83.
Yelena Gadzhievna Isinbayeva is a Russian former pole vaulter. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a three-time World Champion, the current world record holder in the event, and is widely considered the greatest female pole-vaulter of all time. Isinbayeva was banned from 2016 Rio Olympics after the appearance of an independent report about an extensive state-sponsored doping program in Russia, thus dashing her hopes of a grand retirement winning the Olympic gold medal. She retired from athletics in August 2016 after being elected to serve an 8-year term on the IOC's Athletes' Commission.
Svetlana Yevgenyevna Feofanova is a Russian pole vaulter.
Radion Aksanovich Gataullin is a retired pole vaulter who represented the Soviet Union and later Russia. He is the 1988 Olympic silver medallist, the 1987 World bronze medallist, a two-time European champion (1990/94) and a two-time World Indoor champion (1989/93). He is also a former world indoor record holder with clearances of 6.00m and 6.02m in 1989.
Sabin William Carr was an American athlete who competed in the men's pole vault. He competed in Athletics at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam and won gold.
In 1927, Sabin Carr set new indoor and outdoor world records. In early February he took the indoor record up to 13-7⅛ (4.14), which he improved one week later to 13-9¼ (4.19). In May, at the IC4A outdoor, he became the first man to clear 14 feet (4.27), then in 1928, at the AAU indoor, he vaulted 14-1 (4.29) to become the first to clear 14 feet indoors. In 1928, Carr lost his world outdoor record to the 1924 Olympic champion, Lee Barnes, but at the Olympics, Carr got his revenge – he took the gold medal, with Barnes finishing fifth. Carr, a Yale graduate, had a fine record in major championships, winning the AAU indoor twice, the IC4A outdoor three times, and the IC4A indoor twice. Oddly he never placed better than third at the AAU outdoor meet. Carr eventually went into the lumber business in Oakland, California, and became president of the Sterling Lumber Co.
Dmitry Andreevich Starodubtsev ; born 3 January 1986 in Chelyabinsk) is a Russian pole vaulter. He has a personal best of 5.90 m and was a finalist at the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 2011 World Championships in Athletics and the 2012 Summer Olympics. He has won medals at world youth and junior levels and was third at the Summer Universiade in 2007.
Yarisley Silva Rodríguez is a Cuban pole vaulter. She won the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics – the first Latin American athlete to win an Olympic medal in that event.
John Thomas Pennel was an American pole vaulter, and four-time world record holder.
Li Ling is a female Chinese athlete, who specialises in the pole vault.
Renaud Lavillenie is a French pole vaulter. He is the current indoor world record holder, with a height of 6.16 m set indoors on 15 February 2014.
Malte Mohr is a German pole vaulter. At the 2009 World Athletics Championships, Mohr finished in 14th place with a vault of 5.50 metres. At the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships, Mohr was runner-up behind Steve Hooker with a vault of 5.70 metres.
Jillian Schwartz is an American-born female former pole vaulter who competed internationally for Israel. She represented the United States at the 2004 Summer Olympics and competed at five consecutive World Championships in Athletics from 2003 to 2011. Her best placing in international competition was fourth at the 2004 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
Holly Bethan Bradshaw is a British track and field athlete who specialises in the pole vault. She is the current British record holder in the event indoors and outdoors, with clearances of 4.87 metres and 4.81 metres. She won a bronze medal at the 2012 World Indoor Championships, a gold medal at the 2013 European Indoor Championships, a bronze medal at the 2018 European Championships, and a silver medal at the 2019 European Indoor Championships. She also won at the 2018 Athletics World Cup. Coached by Scott Simpson., she has been consistently ranked among the world's best and has been ranked in the world top ten on the Track and Field News merit rankings four times.
Igor Bychkov is a Ukrainian-born pole vaulter who represents Spain. He competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, finishing 12th in the final. He was also the first Spanish athlete in the history to compete in a World Championships Final in the pole vault and also the first Spanish athlete to win an IAAF Challenge in the pole vault after winning in Beijing 2013.
Mary Saxer is an American track and field athlete who competes in the pole vault. She holds a personal record of 4.71 m for the event, set in 2014.
Martin Peter Voss is a retired Danish athlete who specialised in the pole vault. He represented his country at the 1996 Summer Olympics, as well as five consecutive World Championships, starting in 1991. His only major final came at the 1998 European Indoor Championships where he finished sixth.
Mark Hollis is an American track and field athlete who competes in the pole vault. His personal best for the event is 5.83 m, set in 2014. He finished third at the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup.
Sam Kendricks is an American pole vaulter. He is a three-time indoor national champion, the 2015 US National Champion, 2016 Olympics bronze medalist, and the 2017 World Champion.
Jacob "Jake" Blankenship is an American track and field athlete who competes in the pole vault. He holds a personal record of 5.80 m for the event, set in 2015. He placed third at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2015.
Diane Bragg is an American pole vaulter. On July 6, 1952 she jumped 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) at a meet in Philadelphia to improve upon Zoya Romanova's world record in the pole vault. Romanova had held the world record for over 16 years. Bragg's record was equalled more than 16 years later by Brenda Walker, but it wasn't for an additional decade before her record was marginally beaten by Irene Spieker. Additionally, Spieker set her mark indoors. At the time the IAAF, the world governing body, did not officially ratify records in the pole vault, but until 2000, an indoor mark would not count as an outdoor world record though Spieker's record has been logged in the world record progression. More than 30 years after Bragg's record, in 1983 Jana Edwards was finally credited with an outdoor pole vault superior to Bragg's.
Kylie Nicole Hutson is an American track and field athlete who competes in the pole vault. She was the national champion in the event in 2011 and represented the United States at the World Championships in Athletics in 2011 and 2013. She won four NCAA collegiate titles while at Indiana State University. Her personal records are 4.75 m indoors and 4.70 m outdoors.
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|Preceded by|| Men's Pole Vault World Record Holder |
July 2, 1960 – May 20, 1961