HMRC Thursday: Pole vaulter, 1962

I don’t know who this is but I do know that a Post photographer took this lovely sequence of images at a track meet in the old stadium on March 2nd, 1962. I think they’re all good. I’ve tried to put them in the right order but honestly I’m not at all confident that I’ve got it right:

One of my colleagues in the HMRC pointed out to me today that my life would be easier of I gave the citation for each image. That way, if someone wants a copy they know what to ask for and more importantly they can ask the archives instead of me. The only explanation I have for why I never thought of that is that I’m so focused on the content I’ve totally failed to think about consequences. Ah well, nobody’s perfect. And the citation for these pictures is RGD0006N-1962-6036.

Bonus: And now for something completely different.

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12 Responses to HMRC Thursday: Pole vaulter, 1962

  1. Martha Smith says:

    Isn’t that Fred Hanson, who won silver in the 1962 Olympics? I met him once when I was a freshman.

    Martha Kirkpatrick Smith ‘66


    • grungy1973 says:

      It does appear to be Fred Hansen, and he also competed in the long jump.
      He won pole vault gold in ’64, in Tokyo.
      Olympics happen on years divisible by 4, along with Leap, and Presidential elections.

  2. Wes Hansen '80 says:

    I believe that is Fred, and he won the GOLD at the ’64 Tokyo games.

  3. Martha Smith says:

    Oops, here’s the correct info:

    Martha Kirkpatrick Smith ‘66


  4. Nancy Burch says:

    Fred Hansen, gold medal winner in 1964 in Tokyo. Rice’s only gold medalist so far.

  5. franciseugenepratt says:

    I will try this. If I get into trademark trouble or sumpin’, Melissa you come bail me out, please.

    Fred Hansen
    1`964 Olypics U.Tube

    TF Filmarchiv Published on Jun 2, 2017 SUBSCRIBE 1.3K
    In May 1961, George Davies changed the pole vaulting world when he broke the world record with a fiberglass pole, clearing 4.83 (15-10) in the Big Eight Conference Championships. Between then and the 1964 Olympics, the world record was bettered 15 times. Improvement was so rapid that many marks never received IAAF approval, as they were quickly superseded by a better mark. The best jumpers in 1962-63 were [John Pennel] and Brian Sternberg. Sternberg broke the world record three times, the last on 7 June 1963. He was a superb athlete, also one of the best in the United States on the trampoline. On 28 June 1963 he was practicing on the trampoline doing a double-back with a full twist, a simple maneuver for him. But he landed badly, breaking his neck and was rendered a quadriplegic. He would never vault, or walk again, though he remained alive to 2008. With Sternberg out, the favorites for Tokyo were Pennel and a vaulter who came on in 1964, [Fred Hansen]. Hansen set three world records in June-July 1964. He was AAU Champion in 1964 and won the Olympic Trials. Pennel injured his back shortly before the Olympics and would finish only 11th. In the final the competition came down to Hansen and three Germans, [Wolfgang Reinhardt], [Klaus Lehnertz] (both FRG), and Manfred Preußger (GDR). All four cleared five metres on their first attempts. Hansen passed 5.05, while Reinhardt went over on his first try, with Lehnertz and Preußger failing at that height. Thus the gold medal was Reinhardt’s unless Hansen could outjump him at 5.10 (16-8¾). And he did, clearing 5.10 (16-8¾) on his third try while the German missed all three attempts.

    • franciseugenepratt says:

      BTW, that last action pic of F. Hansen looks like a Track Meet, and Hansen may have been ending a “Long Jump”.
      Does anyone know if he did that? Was he a winner in that event?

  6. First man ever to clear 17 feet.

    • Jerry Outlaw says:

      Hansen was a great vaulter but I am pretty sure Bob Seagren was the first man over 17 ft. I first saw Fred, who was from Cuero, at the Robstown Relays in about 1957 or 58, when he went over 13 ft using a steel pole and also demolished everyone in the long jump, at which he also excelled. One of Rice’s greatest ever athletes.

  7. Galloway Hudson - Wiess '60 says:

    Plus, Dr. Hansen was not just a jock. Here is what Wiki says about his other achievements.
    “Besides pole vault Hansen competed in the long jump. He was also an avid golfer and played at the 1980 U.S. Amateur golf championship.[1] He currently is a practicing dentist in Houston, Texas, in the Memorial area of town. He was Inducted into the Texas Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame, Class of 2016.[5]”

  8. Barney McCoy, Hanszen 67 says:

    Hansen was a 5th year Senior my freshman year (63-64) and participated in the track workouts in preparation for the 64 Olympics. It was interesting to watch him develop that year. In addition to pole vaulting, he also worked out with a rope attached above a trampoline. Over and over, he would position his hands on the rope just like they would be on the pole, then kip up into a handstand on the rope and push his body higher, falling down to the trampoline and spring back up to the rope. He explained that in using the fiberglass pole, his running thrust would cause the pole to bend, he would kip up to get on top of the pole and use the pole’s snap back to propel him over the bar. He, and Bob Coffman of UH (the leading decathlete of his era), were the two best athletes I’ve ever known. I f you took Fred’s best times in all the events, he could have won the decathlon in 64.

  9. Barney McCoy says:

    Hansen was a 5th year Senior my freshman year (63-64) and worked out at the track and gym at the same time as the track team, as he prepared for the 64 Olympics. It was interesting to watch him develop that year as he he progressively increased. He not only worked out on the pole vault, but also on a rope attached above a trampoline. He would position his hands on the rope like he would on the pole, then kip up to a handstand on the rope, pushing himself higher and ultimately landing on the trampoline and springing back up to the rope. He explained that as the fiberglass pole bent, he would kip up on top of the pole and use the snap back to help propel him over the bar. He was such a good athlete that he could have won the 64 Olympic Decathlon had he performed his personal best in each event.

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