| Event type

Pole Vault, Men

Date31 July – 2 August 1948
LocationEmpire Stadium, Wembley, London
Participants19 from 10 countries

The greatest pole vaulter between 1936 and 1948 was Cornelius “Dutch” Warmerdam, who was the first man to clear 15 feet, and is usually considered either the greatest pole vaulter ever or second only to Sergey Bubka. When he retired he had 43 jumps over 15 feet, and nobody else had yet cleared that barrier. He never got to compete in the Olympics, although his world records would last until 1957. Favored was Richmond “Boo” Morcom who had won the AAU in 1945, 1947, and 1948 and the Olympic Trials in 1948. He had tied for the 1948 AAU with Bob Richards, who also made the US Team. The third US vaulter was Guinn Smith, who had tied at the Olympic Trials with Morcom on height, losing on the countback. In London Morcom competed on an injured ankle and placed only sixth. The final was contested in the rain, as many events in London were in 1948. Only Smith, Richards, and Finland’s Erkki Kataja were successful at 4.20 (13-9¼) – Smith and Kataja clear, with Richards missing once. Kataja led after that height as he had no misses. But Smith made 4.30 (14-1¼) on his third attempt to keep the American pole vault gold medal streak intact – they had won all the gold medals in this event except for the 1906 Intercalated Olympics.

PosNrAthleteNOCQualifying RoundFinal Round
1490Guinn SmithUSA4.00 (NP)4.30 (1)Gold
2472Erkki KatajaFIN4.00 (NP)4.20 (2)Silver
3489Bob RichardsUSA4.00 (NP)4.20 (3)Bronze
4480Erling KaasNOR4.00 (NP)4.10 (4)
5485Ragnar LundbergSWE4.00 (NP)4.10 (5)
6488Boo MorcomUSA4.00 (NP)3.95 (6)
=7473Valto OleniusFIN4.00 (NP)3.95 (=7)
=7483Hugo GöllorsSWE4.00 (NP)3.95 (=7)
=9475Victor SillonFRA4.00 (NP)3.95 (=9)
=9481Joe BarbosaPUR4.00 (NP)3.95 (=9)
=9482José VicentePUR4.00 (NP)3.95 (=9)
12484Allan LindbergSWE4.00 (NP)3.80 (12)
13 r1/2474Georges BreitmanFRA3.90 (13)
=14 r1/2478Theodosios BalafasGRE3.80 (=14)
=14 r1/2479Torfi BryngeirssonISL3.80 (=14)
16 r1/2588Luis GanozaPER3.70 (16)
=17 r1/2476Charles BouvetFRA3.60 (=17)
=17 r1/2477Dick WebsterGBR3.60 (=17)
=17 r1/2589Jaime PiquerasPER3.60 (=17)
DNS487Muhittin AkinTUR– (DNS)
DNS486Armin ScheurerSUI– (DNS)

Qualifying Round (31 July 1948 — 11:00)

Top 12 and ties and all those clearing 4.00 metres advanced to the final.

NPGuinn SmithUSA4.00Q
NPErkki KatajaFIN4.00Q
NPBob RichardsUSA4.00Q
NPErling KaasNOR4.00Q
NPRagnar LundbergSWE4.00Q
NPBoo MorcomUSA4.00Q
NPHugo GöllorsSWE4.00Q
NPValto OleniusFIN4.00Q
NPJoe BarbosaPUR4.00Q
NPJosé VicentePUR4.00Q
NPVictor SillonFRA4.00Q
NPAllan LindbergSWE4.00Q
13Georges BreitmanFRA3.90
=14Theodosios BalafasGRE3.80
=14Torfi BryngeirssonISL3.80
16Luis GanozaPER3.70
=17Charles BouvetFRA3.60
=17Dick WebsterGBR3.60
=17Jaime PiquerasPER3.60
DNSMuhittin AkinTUR
DNSArmin ScheurerSUI

Final Round (2 August 1948 — 14:30)

PosAthleteNOCHeight3.95 m4.10 m4.20 m4.30 m4.40 m
1Guinn SmithUSA4.30xoxooxxox--
2Erkki KatajaFIN4.20oooxxx
3Bob RichardsUSA4.20oxoxoxxx
4Erling KaasNOR4.10ooxxx
5Ragnar LundbergSWE4.10oxxoxxx
6Boo MorcomUSA3.95o-xxx
=7Hugo GöllorsSWE3.95xo
=7Valto OleniusFIN3.95xo
=9Joe BarbosaPUR3.95xxo
=9José VicentePUR3.95xxo
=9Victor SillonFRA3.95xxo
12Allan LindbergSWE3.80xxx