Bob Mathias

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameRobert Bruce "Bob"•Mathias
Used nameBob•Mathias
Born17 November 1930 in Tulare, California (USA)
Died2 September 2006 in Fresno, California (USA)
Measurements190 cm / 92 kg
AffiliationsOlympic Club, San Francisco (USA) / Stanford Cardinal, Stanford (USA)
NOC United States


American decathlete Bob Mathias was the first of only two men (with Daley Thompson) to win successive Olympic decathlon titles. His first gold medal came in 1948 when, as a 17-year-old, he became the youngest-ever winner of an Olympic track & field event. He set his third world record in defending his title in 1952 but the following year he forfeited his amateur status by starring in a film of his life. He won four AAU titles, 1948-50, and 1952. Although then a professional, he was, as a Marine officer, eligible to compete in the 1956 Inter-Services championships when he won his 11th and final decathlon competition to maintain his unbeaten record in the event. He was also an outstanding running back on the Stanford football team and in 1952 became the only man to compete in the Olympics and the Rose Bowl in the same year. Mathias had a brief movie career and among the films he made was his life story. He later became a congressman representing California’s 18th District, serving in the 91st, 92nd, and 93rd Congresses. As a congressman he served on the Agriculture Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and as a delegate to the House NATO Conferences. In 1973, he introduced legislation to amend the U.S. Olympic Charter that effectively created a Bill of Rights for amateur athletes.

Personal Bests: 100 – 10.8 (1952); 400 – 50.2 (1952); 110H – 13.8 (1952); HJ – 6-2¾ (1.90) (1952); PV – 13-1½ (4.00) (1952); LJ – 23-5½ (7.15) (1952); SP – 51-11 (15.82) (1953); DT – 173-4 (52.83) (1951); JT – 204-1 (62.20) (1952); Dec – 7592 (1952).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Bob Mathias
Decathlon, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1952 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Bob Mathias
Decathlon, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes