| Event type

Pole Vault, Men

Date1 – 2 September 1972
LocationOlympiastadion, Olympiapark, München
Participants21 from 12 countries
Olympic Record 4.09 / xxo WR / Frank Foss USA / 20 August 1920

The two best jumpers in 1972 were defending champion Bob Seagren and Sweden’s Kjell Isaksson. But also highly considered was 1968 bronze medalist Wolfgang Nordwig (GDR), who had won the 1966, 1969, and 1971 European Championships. Seagren and Isaksson were using the new Cata-Pole. But on 25 July the IAAF declared that pole to be illegal. The protest against the pole was lodged by the East Germans – Nordwig did not use that pole – based on the fact that it contained carbon fibers. When it was pointed out that the pole did not contain carbon fibers, and that IAAF rules did not specify any material prohibitions on poles, the IAAF banned it anyway because the equipment had not been available to all competitors for the past 12 months. It was also noted to the IAAF that their rules had no such requirement. Then on 27 August, the ban on the poles was lifted and it was announced they would be allowed. However, three days later, the IAAF again reversed itself and reinstated the ban on the poles, confiscating them from the pole vaulters rooms in the Olympic Village. (Obviously, Olympic officials in 1972 were more concerned with what was in the rooms of the Olympic Village than providing security for the place.)

In the competition, Isaksson was severely hampered by the rule change and did not clear a height in qualifying. At 5.30 (17-4½), four vaulters were left in the competition – Nordwig and Reinhard Kuretzky (FRG) clearing that height, while Seagren and Jan Johnson passed to 5.35 (17-6½). Kuretzky went out at 5.35, with Nordwig and Seagren getting first attempt clearances. Johnson went over on his third effort and would do no better, winning the bronze medal. At 5.40 (17-8½), Nordwig cleared on his second attempt and Seagren on his third. But Seagren missed 5.45 (17-10½) while Nordwig won the gold medal at that height, and went on to get over 5.50 (18-0½) as well. Seagren’s world record was 5.63 (18-5½) and he was incensed by how he had been manipulated by the officials. After his last vault, he took the pole he had been forced to vault with and handed it back to IAAF President Adje Paulen.

PosNrAthleteNOCQualifying RoundFinal Round
1338Wolfgang NordwigGDR5.10 (=1)5.50 (1)GoldOR
21012Bob SeagrenUSA5.10 (=6)5.40 (2)Silver
3993Jan JohnsonUSA5.10 (10)5.35 (3)Bronze
4377Reinhard KuretzkyFRG5.10 (5)5.30 (4)
5105Bruce SimpsonCAN5.10 (=3)5.20 (5)
6389Volker OhlFRG5.10 (9)5.20 (6)
7852Hans LagerqvistSWE5.10 (8)5.20 (7)
8268François TracanelliFRA5.10 (=6)5.10 (8)
9851Ingemar JernbergSWE5.00 (14)5.10 (9)
10711Wojciech BuciarskiPOL5.00 (12)5.00 (10)
11435Khristos PapanikolaouGRE5.00 (13)5.00 (11)
AC r2/2206Antti KalliomäkiFIN5.10 (=1)– (AC)
AC r2/2241Hervé d'EncausseFRA5.10 (=3)– (AC)
AC r2/2740Tadeusz ŚlusarskiPOL5.00 (11)– (AC)
15 r1/2520Silvio FraquelliITA4.80 (15)
=16 r1/227Ray BoydAUS4.80 (=16)
=16 r1/2276Mike BullGBR4.80 (=16)
18 r1/21019Steve SmithUSA4.80 (18)
AC r1/285Kirk BrydeCAN– (AC)
AC r1/2517Renato DionisiITA– (AC)
AC r1/2850Kjell IsakssonSWE– (AC)
DNS794Abass GoudiabySEN– (DNS)

Qualifying Round (1 September 1972 — 10:00)

Top 12 and ties and all those clearing 5.10 metres advanced to the final.

PosAthleteNOCHeightMissesTotal MissesTotal Attempts
=1Antti KalliomäkiFIN5.10001Q
=1Wolfgang NordwigGDR5.10001Q
=3Bruce SimpsonCAN5.10002Q
=3Hervé d'EncausseFRA5.10002Q
5Reinhard KuretzkyFRG5.10003Q
=6François TracanelliFRA5.10112Q
=6Bob SeagrenUSA5.10112Q
8Hans LagerqvistSWE5.10113Q
9Volker OhlFRG5.10114Q
10Jan JohnsonUSA5.10124Q
11Tadeusz ŚlusarskiPOL5.00001q
12Wojciech BuciarskiPOL5.00112q
13Khristos PapanikolaouGRE5.00135q
14Ingemar JernbergSWE5.00235q
15Silvio FraquelliITA4.80001
=16Ray BoydAUS4.80112
=16Mike BullGBR4.80112
18Steve SmithUSA4.80223
ACRenato DionisiITANH
ACKjell IsakssonSWENH
DNSAbass GoudiabySEN

Qualifying Round, Group A (1 September 1972)

PosAthleteNOCHeightMissesTotal MissesTotal Attempts4.80 m5.00 m5.10 m
=1Antti KalliomäkiFIN5.10001--o
=1Wolfgang NordwigGDR5.10001--o
3Hervé d'EncausseFRA5.10002-oo
4Bob SeagrenUSA5.10112--xo
5Hans LagerqvistSWE5.10113-oxo
6Volker OhlFRG5.10114ooxo
7Jan JohnsonUSA5.10124-xoxo
8Khristos PapanikolaouGRE5.00135xxoxoxxx
9Steve SmithUSA4.80223xxoxxx
ACRenato DionisiITANH
ACKjell IsakssonSWENH

Qualifying Round, Group B (1 September 1972)

PosAthleteNOCHeightMissesTotal MissesTotal Attempts4.80 m5.00 m5.10 m
1Bruce SimpsonCAN5.10002-oo
2Reinhard KuretzkyFRG5.10003ooo
3François TracanelliFRA5.10112--xo
4Tadeusz ŚlusarskiPOL5.00001-oxxx
5Wojciech BuciarskiPOL5.00112-xoxxx
6Ingemar JernbergSWE5.00235xoxxoxxx
7Silvio FraquelliITA4.80001oxxx
=8Ray BoydAUS4.80112xoxxx
=8Mike BullGBR4.80112xoxxx
DNSAbass GoudiabySEN

Final Round (2 September 1972 — 13:00)

PosAthleteNOCHeightMissesTotal MissesTotal Attempts4.80 m5.00 m5.10 m5.20 m5.30 m5.35 m5.40 m5.45 m5.50 m5.56 m
1Wolfgang NordwigGDR5.502410--o-xooxooxxoxxxOR
2Bob SeagrenUSA5.40225---o-oxxoxxx=OR
3Jan JohnsonUSA5.35124---xo-xoxxx
4Reinhard KuretzkyFRG5.30049oxoxxoxooxxx
5Bruce SimpsonCAN5.20025-oxxooxxx
6Volker OhlFRG5.20124--xoxoxxx
7Hans LagerqvistSWE5.20236-xooxxoxxx
8François TracanelliFRA5.10001--o-xxx
9Ingemar JernbergSWE5.10135-xxoxoxxx
10Wojciech BuciarskiPOL5.00001-o-xxx
11Khristos PapanikolaouGRE5.00002oo-xxx
ACAntti KalliomäkiFINNH
ACHervé d'EncausseFRANH
ACTadeusz ŚlusarskiPOLNH