17 feet, made

I had a ridiculous day today. It was one crazy thing after another and I never stopped running. I was reduced to eating a piece of cold leftover pizza for lunch on the go. My feet hurt.

Here, though, is someone who has things totally under control. It’s Fred Hansen ’63, and although it’s undated and the location is unclear the photographer noted all the truly important data on the front:


Bonus: Earlier in the day I found myself in the basement of Ryon Lab, where I saw this exemplary piece of unobsolete technology:


Unsurprisingly, it’s used to hit things. If you zoom in, you can see that the label on top reads “Presented to the Rice Institute by Cameron Iron Works.”

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2 Responses to 17 feet, made

  1. almadenmike says:

    As described in this New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/1964/06/07/hansen-expects-to-vault-176.html) Fred Hansen cleared 17 feet for the first time — 17’1″ — on June 6, 1964, at the United States Track and Field Federation’s district champion­ships at Houston’s Jeppe­sen Stadium.

    But the stadium seating and light standards in the background of the photo above do not look like the photos of Jeppesen Stadium posted earlier this year on this blog (https://ricehistorycorner.com/2016/02/02/a-football-stadium-not-our-own/). It looks like the photo above was taken in a practice, rather than at an ongoing track meet.

    Many Rice articles (http://www.riceowls.com/sports/m-track/spec-rel/101714aad.html, for example) say that this jump made Hansen the first pole vaulter to surpass 17 feet. But the USATF (http://www.usatf.org/halloffame/TF/showBio.asp?HOFIDs=206) and the Internataional Association of Athetics Federations (https://web.archive.org/web/20110629134819/http://www.iaaf.org/mm/document/competitions/competition/05/15/63/20090706014834_httppostedfile_p345-688_11303.pdf) note that John Pennel cleared 17′- 3/4″ nearly a year earlier, on Aug 24, 1963, in Coral Gables, Fla. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men%27s_pole_vault_world_record_progression) … using one of Hansen’s poles, BTW.

    Might Hansen the photo above be of Hansen en route to clearing 17 feet in practice before Pennel’s Coral Gables leap?

  2. Bob Reinhold says:

    The pic is from a US-USSR meet at the Los Angeles Coliseum. He cleared 17-4 that day.

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