Don Bragg

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDonald George "Don"•Bragg
Used nameDon•Bragg
Born15 May 1935 in Penns Grove, New Jersey (USA)
Died16 February 2019 in Oakley, California (USA)
Measurements190 cm / 89 kg
AffiliationsVillanova Wildcats, Villanova (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


Don Bragg was the last of the great pre-fiberglass pole vaulters. He won the 1960 Final Trials with a world record of 15-9¼ (4.80) and this remains a world “best” with a metal pole. Bragg had won the 1959 Pan American Games, the 1959 AAU outdoor and, after sharing first place at the AAU indoor in 1956 and 1958, he was an outright winner in 1959-1961. While at Villanova, he won the NCAA in 1955 and was IC4A champion, both indoors and out, for three successive years (1955-57). His career best vault of 15-9½ (4.81) was set indoors in Philadelphia in February 1959.

Don Bragg earned the nickname “Tarzan” as a result of his life-long dream to play that role in the movies. After his Olympic victory his plans were thwarted by injury, legal problems, and scandal. He did play the role in one movie but it was never released. After his dreams of movie stardom faded, Tarzan Bragg became athletic director at Stockton State (NJ) College and the owner of a boys’ summer camp near the school. He is a member of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.

Personal Best: PV – 4.81i (1959).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1960 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Don Bragg
Pole Vault, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes