Guinn Smith

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameOwen Guinn•Smith
Used nameGuinn•Smith
Born2 May 1920 in McKinney, Texas (USA)
Died24 January 2004 in San Francisco, California (USA)
Measurements187 cm / 79 kg
AffiliationsOlympic Club, San Francisco (USA) / California Golden Bears, Berkeley (USA)
NOC United States


Guinn Smith was the last man to win the Olympic pole vault title using a bamboo pole. He won the 1940 IC4A and tied for the NCAA title in 1941. Smith started out as a high jumper in college but switched to the pole vault when he realized how strong the high jump squad was at U Cal Berkeley. After graduating from Berkeley in 1942 he was out of the sport for three years, during which time he won the Distinguished Flying Cross as a captain in the Army Air Corps. On his return to competition in 1947, Smith took the AAU indoor title and at the 1948 Final Trials he placed second with a career best of 14-8⅛ (4.47). At the Olympics he was trailing for much of the competition, but despite a painful knee injury, he was the only man to clear 14-1¼ (4.30), which he did on his last attempt.

Personal Bests: HJ – 6-5 (1.95) (1941); PV – 14-8⅛ (4.47) (1948); LJ – 22-9¼ (6.94) (1944).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Guinn Smith
Pole Vault, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold