What's the highest PV on a non-fiberglass pole ? Is it still Gutowski's never-approved 15' 9 3/4' ? I know Bragg had a 15' 9 1/4" approved WR , Morris a 15' 8" the next year, and Warmerdam had 15' 8 1/2" (i) plus has long time WR 15' 7 1/4"...etc. How about someone showing a 5 or 10 deep " all time non-fiberglass list. " !
>What's the highest PV on a non-fiberglass pole ?
>Is it still Gutowski's never-approved 15' 9 3/4'
>? I know Bragg had a 15' 9 1/4" approved WR ,
>Morris a 15' 8" the next year, and Warmerdam
>had 15' 8 1/2" (i) plus has long time WR 15' 7
>1/4"...etc. How about someone showing a 5 or
>10 deep " all time non-fiberglass list. " !
I was thinking about this recently too, and I believe it must still be Gutowski's 15'9.75" as you state. This was considered the WR when I started vaulting, so it was a big number in my mind. It was later disallowed because it was said that his pole went under the crossbar after his clearance, but this rule no longer exists. It was a dumb rule and needed to be changed.
The vaults you mentioned above are the same ones I know of -- all pre-fiberglass era. The real question is whether anyone made a higher vault on a non-fiberglass pole after the fiberglass era began. It might have attracted little notice, as it wouldn't have been a record, nor exciting news in the early days of the fiberglass era. But I wonder, did anyone EVER make 16' (or any mark higher than Gutowski) on a non-fiberglass pole?
Bubka could do anything, no doubt, but it's gotta be a genuine non-fiberglass pole to count. Early fiberglass poles (the "green pole") were often quite inflexible too, but they still count as fiberglass marks, i.e. Jim Brewer's HS record of 15' in 1957, and George Davies 15'10.25", the first fiberglass WR. The advent of the "brown pole" was really the beginning of what we now know as the fiberglass era. This was Uelses' pole on the first 16' vaults, and used by all subsequent record setters for quite a few years.
Gutowski it is! In the November '65 edition of T&FN, Craig Moore produced a list (vetted by Jack Shepard and Horace Crow) of the 27 men who did 15-0 or better on bamboo/steel. Here's the first 10:
1. Bob Gutowski US 15’93/4” Autstin, TX 6/15/57
2. Don Bragg US 15’91/4” Palo Alto, CA 7/2/60
3. John Cramer US 15’81/4” Walnut, CA 6/23/62
4. Ron Morris US 15’8” New York City, NY 6/25/61
5. Cornelius Warmerdam US 15’73/4” Modesto, CA 5/23/42
6. Bob Richards US 15’5” Santa Ana, CA 10/27/56
Jim Graham US 15’5” Norman Oklhoma 5/19/59
Manfred Preussger Ger 15’5” Magdegurg, Germany 10/14/61
9. J.D. Martin US 15’4” Ames, IA 5/21/60
Henry Wadsworth US 15’4” New York City, NY 6/25/61
Yeah, yeah, Bubka "coulda", for sure. But so what? Lot's of "couldas" out there. Carl coulda jumped 30' if he hadn't been so preoccupied with sprinting. (And just think what I "coulda" done, if only, if only... )
I love to try to get the last word. My comment about Bubka is semi-serious, in that no vaulter, IMHO, ever had his combination og speed, strength, and agility. If he had been born in 1915 or 1930 , and trained and competed against the likes of Warmerdam and Richards, he would have beaten them and jumped 16.
>Does it strike any of you as amazing that
>Warmerdam on bamboo went higher than all but four
>vaulters on steel? For all the success that
>Richards had, he never broke Warmerdam's record.
Not so amazing, because in many ways the bamboo pole was superior to the steel pole. It's too bad it was abandoned in favor of the steel pole at a time in history when anything more technological was thought to be "progress". Actually, the bamboo pole was more flexible than the steel pole and in light of what became evident later with fiberglass, that was probably an advantage. Of course, a disadvantage of bamboo was that the poles were inconsistent and difficult to duplicate -- as with any biological material. I think Richards, Gutowski, Bragg, and others of that era may have gone higher on bamboo than they did on steel if they had persisted with it and found the right pole for their body and style. But at that time no one was really aware of what an advantage a flexible pole could give. That only became evident later when the fiberglass era began.
Even when some vaulters were moving to fiberglass, others were slow to change. Morris and Cramer hung with steel for awhile, until everyone started passing them up. Many felt that fiberglass was a "fad" that would pass because the so-called advantages would prove to be illusory. It didn't take too long for everyone to give up on those ideas -- Uelses, Tork, Pennel, and the other early fiberglass record setters settled the question.
Shortly before the advent of fiberglass, there was an article (in T&FN, I think), about someone working to produce a laminated wooden pole that would duplicate some of the advantages of bamboo but able to be reproduced in a factory, with different weights and gauges for different vaulters. This idea anticipated fiberglass and became irrelevant with the advent of fiberglass poles.
My own vaulting career spanned both the metal pole and fiberglass eras. I also used bamboo poles early on and always found them more comfortable than metal poles -- less shock at the takeoff -- but never developed the capability to really bend the bamboo pole. By the time I had developed physically enough to do that, the fiberglass pole was available.
>Were the "steel" poles really made of steel,
>or were they aluminum (or a composite)? I'd think
>that much steel would be damned heavy.
There were a variety of metal poles. Aluminum poles of uniform diameter were common, cheap, and used by many beginning and intermediate vaulters, and a few elite vaulters. Another popular pole was "Swedish Steel" which was a narrow diameter pole tapered at both ends (it bulged in the middle). This was fairly lightweight, had a narrow grip (good for small hands), and had a tiny bit of flexibility. It was my favorite metal pole. Gutowski, Bragg, Morris, and Cramer all used big, heavy, uniform diameter poles which they referred to as "steel" but were probably actually alloys. I could hardly lift these things and they were very rigid. Morris couldn't even hold his grip at the takeoff on his inflexible monster and his grip would slip considerably. He was very aware of this problem and tried to stick himself to the pole by heating the tape with a can of sterno (a burning flame). He was always "cooking" his pole! He did this later with his fiberglass poles too, which sometimes were damaged by the heat of the flame.
Well, Bob Richards was only 5'10 and that was definitely a handicap on the steel poles but Warmerdam was way ahead of his time and a close second of all time in my book. But of Richards Bragg and Gutowski who would have done best on fiberglass? I would pick Gutowski slightly ahead of Richards.
>Well, Bob Richards was only 5'10 and that was
>definitely a handicap on the steel poles but
>Warmerdam was way ahead of his time and a close
>second of all time in my book. But of Richards
>Bragg and Gutowski who would have done best on
>fiberglass? I would pick Gutowski slightly ahead
I was thinking about this last night (West coast time), probably about the time you wrote the above. I was thinking that Bob Richards, with his powerful physique, fast run, and explosive take off, would have been a great fiberglass vaulter. His height (or lack of it) would have been less of a disadvantage. He was no Bubka, but more of that type than the others. Gutowski was tall, thin, and fluid -- did OK on metal because his fluid style minimized the shock of the rigid pole. Bragg was very powerful and just muscled his way over the bar -- very consistently. He might have had to do a lot of adjusting to vault well on glass, but then might have gone very high with it. Hard to say. But of the three, I'd pick Richards as the one who would have benefitted the most from fiberglass.
Warmerdam was indeed a great pioneer in the event. In some ways we could say he was the first "modern" vaulter. Somewhat like Stacy Dragila now in the women's event, and vaulting around the same heights. But Warmerdam was never tested in the way that later vaulters have been, through no fault of his own. There were no Olympics during his career due to the war, and for the same reason, nearly all the young men in the world were busy fighting the war and were not available to train and compete in athletics. So while Warmerdam's dominance was great, it was without any pool of men available as competitors. Still, whatever the circumstances, he was in a class by himself during his time.
But with Bubka a clear #1, I'd lean towards Richards as my #2. Vaulting conditions were no better in his era than Warmerdam's (worse if you accept my premise that the metal pole was really inferior to bamboo), he was over 15' much more consistently and frequently, and he won two Olympic golds. The only thing missing from his impeccable resume is that he wasn't quite able to exceed Warmerdam's world records.
Other all-time greats include Bob Seagren and John Pennel. Of course there are many great vaulters in the current 19'+ era, but it's hard to get too enthusiastic about them because they are so far behind Bubka.
I should add, as a caveat to my rankings, that Bob Richards was a neighbor of mine, and coached me when I was 12-13 years old. I loved the guy.
Does anyone know the relationship of long-time HS record holder Brandon Richards (18-2) to Bob? I once heard that Brandon was his son, but I knew three of Bob's sons in the late fifties, and all were considerably older than Brandon. However, he might have had another son (Brandon?) much later.