the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]


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the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby JumboElliott » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:31 pm

I don't know if the pole vault can be compared to any event in terms of championships. The greatest pole vaulter in history, who was head and shoulders above his competition somehow only managed to win one Olympic medal.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby gh » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:08 pm

no, the greatest vaulter ever, Dutch Warmerdam, never won a single Olympic gold medal. :twisted:
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby Per Andersen » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:49 pm

houstonian wrote:
Example: Finnish javelin depth and the Finnish javelin list, are both superior to their international medal haul, particularly in recent decades.

others that come to mind, as I discuss this elusive thread:
China 1500m (W)
Germany Decathlon
Russia 400m -- good, i know. But acheivement seems to fall short of list depth.

i am sure there are even better examples.

Finland is a bad example. No comparison to the Chinese, German or Russian examples.
There are always Finns near the top in the Javelin. They are not as dominant as they once were but Rati, Parviainen and Pitkamaki over the last decades. What country can match that? For a Hockey mad country with a pop. of a little over 5 mill they have been and are astonishingly successful. They are still medalling at WCs and Olympics in the Javelin.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby bambam » Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:45 pm

gh wrote:no, the greatest vaulter ever, Dutch Warmerdam, never won a single Olympic gold medal. :twisted:


I almost sent this exact same reply, just to start the argument.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby norunner » Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:40 pm

So what makes Warmerdam better than Bubka? On paper Bubka's stats seem superior and unless some of you i am not old enough to have seen Warmerdam live. :wink:
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby bambam » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:26 pm

norunner wrote:So what makes Warmerdam better than Bubka? On paper Bubka's stats seem superior and unless some of you i am not old enough to have seen Warmerdam live. :wink:


Who knows? They're 1-2, in whatever order you want to choose. Warmerdam only had records because of WW2 and his era, there was nothing for him to compete in except US meets. But he destroyed the world lists and world records in that era, as did Bubka.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby tandfman » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:08 am

Warmerdam still held the record more than a decade after WWII ended.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby gh » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:26 am

and Warmerdam, in the end, was done in by advancing technology.

Bubka, on the other hand, is the beneficiary of a change in the rules (size of pegs) which may make his records last forever. (Not that I think there's currently anybody about who could match what he did with the bigger pegs)
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby norunner » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:49 am

gh wrote:Bubka, on the other hand, is the beneficiary of a change in the rules (size of pegs) which may make his records last forever. (Not that I think there's currently anybody about who could match what he did with the bigger pegs)
Bubka could have jumped 6.15 even with the current rules, he didn't even touch the pole during his 6.15. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ34Pc-1dBA
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby JumboElliott » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:37 am

Where does Don Bragg rank? He was also done in by advancing technology.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby Per Andersen » Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:04 pm

JumboElliott wrote:Where does Don Bragg rank? He was also done in by advancing technology.

Not sure but I would certainly rank him behind Bubka, Warmerdam, Seagren and Bob Richards.
Probably tie him with Gutowski.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby CookyMonzta » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:44 pm

Per Andersen wrote:
JumboElliott wrote:Where does Don Bragg rank? He was also done in by advancing technology.

Not sure but I would certainly rank him behind Bubka, Warmerdam, Seagren and Bob Richards.
Probably tie him with Gutowski.

I tried to find a reason to rank Warmerdam ahead of Bubka, despite being denied Olympic gold because of World War II; but as impossible as it was for others to hit 15 feet during Warmerdam's dominance, only 7 other vaulters managed 6 meters before Bubka's retirement. On top of that, Bubka kept winning numerous meets with vaults of 6 meters or better, even when the competition was tough enough (much tougher than what Dutch had) that Rodion Gataullin ranked ahead of him twice.

Right now (subject to another review), I have Bubka on top, Dutch 2nd, Richards 3rd, Seagren 4th and Maksim Tarasov 5th.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby bambam » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:55 am

Per Andersen wrote:
JumboElliott wrote:Where does Don Bragg rank? He was also done in by advancing technology.

Not sure but I would certainly rank him behind Bubka, Warmerdam, Seagren and Bob Richards.
Probably tie him with Gutowski.


Really? Tied with Gutowski? Gutowski was great, and a world record holder and an Olympic medalist, but Bragg has all that and a gold medal. I know Gutowski's career was cut short. Anyone have any idea what their head-to-head record was?
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby dj » Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:34 am

CookyMonzta wrote:
Per Andersen wrote:
JumboElliott wrote:Where does Don Bragg rank? He was also done in by advancing technology.

Not sure but I would certainly rank him behind Bubka, Warmerdam, Seagren and Bob Richards.
Probably tie him with Gutowski.

I tried to find a reason to rank Warmerdam ahead of Bubka, despite being denied Olympic gold because of World War II; but as impossible as it was for others to hit 15 feet during Warmerdam's dominance, only 7 other vaulters managed 6 meters before Bubka's retirement. On top of that, Bubka kept winning numerous meets with vaults of 6 meters or better, even when the competition was tough enough (much tougher than what Dutch had) that Rodion Gataullin ranked ahead of him twice.

Right now (subject to another review), I have Bubka on top, Dutch 2nd, Richards 3rd, Seagren 4th and Maksim Tarasov 5th.



At the time Bubka retired in 2000 with a best of 6.15 (1994), Maksim Tarasov was #2 with a 6.05 in 1999.

When Warmerdam retired in 1944 with a best of 4.78 (15-8 1/2) from 1943, Bill Sefton and Earle Meadows were 2nd all time at 4.54 (14-11).

That's a 24 cm difference for Warmerdam, only 10cm for Bubka. Bubka's best will hit 20 years this year, but has been aided by the rules change. Warmerdam's best lasted 16 years (tied in 1957, broken in 1959 by Bragg), but those succeeding him were aided by improved poles.

During their careers, each of them bettered the previous best record (indoors or out) by 24cm, so they're even there.

As for dominating the all-time list, by the time Warmerdam retired he had bettered the 2nd-highest vaulter's best (4.54/14-11 by Bill Sefton and Earle Meadows in 1937) in 34 meets: 2 times in 1940, 8 '41, 11 '42, 12 '43, 1 '44 (before entering the service full-time). I've not counted ancillary marks.

Warmerdam went undefeated his last three years, from 1942 through 1944, with only one loss in 1941.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby Marlow » Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:44 am

dj wrote:When Warmerdam retired in 1944 with a best of 4.78 (15-8 1/2) from 1943, Bill Sefton and Earle Meadows were 2nd all time at 4.54 (14-11).

My gut tells me that Bubka is the GOAT, but that is an extremely persuasive fact for Dutch.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby dj » Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:46 am

Marlow wrote:
dj wrote:When Warmerdam retired in 1944 with a best of 4.78 (15-8 1/2) from 1943, Bill Sefton and Earle Meadows were 2nd all time at 4.54 (14-11).

My gut tells me that Bubka is the GOAT, but that is an extremely persuasive fact for Dutch.


more added to the original post:


During their careers, each of them bettered the previous best record (indoors or out) by 24cm, so they're even there.

As for dominating the all-time list, by the time Warmerdam retired he had bettered the 2nd-highest vaulter's best (4.54/14-11 by Bill Sefton and Earle Meadows in 1937) in 34 meets: 2 times in 1940, 8 '41, 11 '42, 12 '43, 1 '44 (before entering the service full-time). I've not counted ancillary marks.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby Marlow » Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:52 am

dj wrote:more added to the original post

Dang - you've completely changed my mind and I hate being wrong - oh, wait, I'm not any more! :D
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby dj » Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:10 pm

As for ranking Bragg or Gutowski, looking only at earlier vaulters I'd certainly put Earle Meadows ahead of both. Meadows was '36 gold medalist, twice broke the WR in '37, and in our retro rankings (not finalized) would have had this progression:

1935-2
1936-1
1937-3
1938-2
1939-1
1940-2
1941-2
1942-5

Aside from having teammate Bill Sefton lead the rankings in 1937 and his final year of 1942, the only person to outrank him was Warmerdam.

More on Warmerdam: he retired in the year in which he cleared his career best, entering the US Navy in 1944. Bubka hung around six years after his PR. The implication being that while Bubka had a normal decline to his career, Warmerdam never did, leaving at his best and before anyone else had even bettered the WR from before Warmerdam's time.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby mump boy » Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:48 pm

Marlow wrote:
dj wrote:When Warmerdam retired in 1944 with a best of 4.78 (15-8 1/2) from 1943, Bill Sefton and Earle Meadows were 2nd all time at 4.54 (14-11).

My gut tells me that Bubka is the GOAT, but that is an extremely persuasive fact for Dutch.


I disagree

What serious world wide competition was their during WW2 ?? Most of the world had more important things to worry about than jumping over a bar as did a lot of potential athletes from the US.

The playing fields are not level and nor is the comparison
Last edited by mump boy on Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby dj » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:04 pm

mump boy wrote:
Marlow wrote:
dj wrote:When Warmerdam retired in 1944 with a best of 4.78 (15-8 1/2) from 1943, Bill Sefton and Earle Meadows were 2nd all time at 4.54 (14-11).

My gut tells me that Bubka is the GOAT, but that is an extremely persuasive fact for Dutch.


I disagree

What series world wide competition was their during WW2 ?? Most of the world had more important things to worry about than jumping over a bar as did a lot of potential athletes from the US.

The playing fields are not level and nor is the comparison


The number of non-US vaulters of world-wide importance from 1900 through 1940 can be counted on one hand. The war made NO difference to what was happening in the vault until 1943, and the only because the good American vaulters started getting involved in the war effort (including the collegians who were better than what the Euros/Asians were producing before the war).
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby bambam » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:02 am

mump boy wrote:
Marlow wrote:
dj wrote:When Warmerdam retired in 1944 with a best of 4.78 (15-8 1/2) from 1943, Bill Sefton and Earle Meadows were 2nd all time at 4.54 (14-11).

My gut tells me that Bubka is the GOAT, but that is an extremely persuasive fact for Dutch.


I disagree

What series world wide competition was their during WW2 ?? Most of the world had more important things to worry about than jumping over a bar as did a lot of potential athletes from the US.

The playing fields are not level and nor is the comparison


True, but you're criticizing Warmerdam for the era in which he lived. And re international competitions, how was Bubka's record at the Olympic Games exactly? In terms of what DJ said, remember that US vaulters absolutely dominated the event until 1970s. Except for the 1906 Olympics, all Olympic golds from 1896-1968 were won by US vaulters, and the 1972 one was stolen from Seagren.
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby dukehjsteve » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:24 am

I feel silly saying this, but Bubka pulled one of the biggest flops in history with his nh in Barcelona.
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby mump boy » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:19 am

bambam wrote:
mump boy wrote:
Marlow wrote:
dj wrote:When Warmerdam retired in 1944 with a best of 4.78 (15-8 1/2) from 1943, Bill Sefton and Earle Meadows were 2nd all time at 4.54 (14-11).

My gut tells me that Bubka is the GOAT, but that is an extremely persuasive fact for Dutch.


I disagree

What series world wide competition was their during WW2 ?? Most of the world had more important things to worry about than jumping over a bar as did a lot of potential athletes from the US.

The playing fields are not level and nor is the comparison


True, but you're criticizing Warmerdam for the era in which he lived. And re international competitions, how was Bubka's record at the Olympic Games exactly? In terms of what DJ said, remember that US vaulters absolutely dominated the event until 1970s. Except for the 1906 Olympics, all Olympic golds from 1896-1968 were won by US vaulters, and the 1972 one was stolen from Seagren.


I didn't criticise him at all :-S

If only 1 country was even competitive in this event it makes my point even more valid !!
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby norunner » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:03 pm

bambam wrote:Except for the 1906 Olympics, all Olympic golds from 1896-1968 were won by US vaulters, and the 1972 one was stolen from Seagren.
How was it stolen from Seagren? Looking for the story, not an argument, since i was busy filling my diapers in 72 (10 minutes away from the olympic stadium in munich no less), so i have no clue what you are talking about.
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby LopenUupunut » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:17 pm

I like Hoff in the all-time rankings. Obviously he's nowhere near Bubka or Warmerdam but I'd put him above Meadows, Gutowski or Bragg. Like Bubka and Warmerdam and unlike any of those three, he defined and dominated his era.
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby Per Andersen » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:30 pm

LopenUupunut wrote:I like Hoff in the all-time rankings. Obviously he's nowhere near Bubka or Warmerdam but I'd put him above Meadows, Gutowski or Bragg. Like Bubka and Warmerdam and unlike any of those three, he defined and dominated his era.

Good point! And yet, T&FN ranked Hoff behind Frank Foss as top vaulter of that same era :evil:
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby jhc68 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:08 pm

Re: Seagran 1972
Just google "1972 pole vault controversy" and you'll find several accounts.
Long story short, Seagren and other Western bloc vaulters had their poles confiscated in a completely groundless BS ruling that they were somehow illegal, while the Eastern bloc vaulters used the poles they were accustomed to using.
Pure politics.
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby dj » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:43 pm

Per Andersen wrote:
LopenUupunut wrote:I like Hoff in the all-time rankings. Obviously he's nowhere near Bubka or Warmerdam but I'd put him above Meadows, Gutowski or Bragg. Like Bubka and Warmerdam and unlike any of those three, he defined and dominated his era.

Good point! And yet, T&FN ranked Hoff behind Frank Foss as top vaulter of that same era :evil:


Yes, they/we did. But it certainly wasn't a unanimous opinion. Here's how the basic chart for each would have read, listing OG medals, # of WRs, retro-rankings with T&FN criteria:

Foss, '20 gold; 2 WRs; 2,4,x,x,1,1 (1915-20)
Hoff: 8th '24 800 (injury kept him out of the OG PV); 2 WRs; 6,1,1,x (1921-1924, quarter century was 1900-1924)

Adding the last two years of Hoff's amateur career (1925-26) would have changed his line to this:
8th '24 800; 4 WRs; 6,1,1,x,1,1 (1921-1926).

Depending on which line you want to use, and the argument winners chose the first, one can see how Foss could come out ahead of Hoff. It was one of several problems created by people who spanned quarter-centuries.

As for Meadows, I only referenced him because he was a Warmerdam contemporary, who was at least one person who should have been considered ahead of Bragg/Gutowski.
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby LopenUupunut » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:06 pm

Out of sheer curiosity, who did you pick as #1 in the '24 retro-rankings? Did Barnes get the nod with his Oly gold or did Spearow's superior top end trump it?
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby bambam » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:45 pm

norunner wrote:
bambam wrote:Except for the 1906 Olympics, all Olympic golds from 1896-1968 were won by US vaulters, and the 1972 one was stolen from Seagren.
How was it stolen from Seagren? Looking for the story, not an argument, since i was busy filling my diapers in 72 (10 minutes away from the olympic stadium in munich no less), so i have no clue what you are talking about.


From our website:

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 Adrian Paulen.
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby dj » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm

LopenUupunut wrote:Out of sheer curiosity, who did you pick as #1 in the '24 retro-rankings? Did Barnes get the nod with his Oly gold or did Spearow's superior top end trump it?


Barnes, although it could still be open to debate. Barnes is undefeated, including the OG gold, a tie for 1st in the US FOT, and a win in the US-British Empire dual. Aside from his SnPacAAU win, the rest of his wins are in high school meets. But he also has the best set of marks on the year except for Spearow.

Spearow has two things working against him. He's only 6th at the OG, and it's not as if he lost on a countback or by one height. He lost be at least three bar settings, clearing 3.70, while 1st and 2nd cleared 3.95. The loss gave him losing records against all those who beat him, including the three US medalists, all of whom he tied at the US FOT with Spearow. The second thing is that ATFS categorizes all his big marks in Japan as exhibitions. Is there a reason to think otherwise about the Japanese marks?
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Re: Nippon Stepping

Postby huh? » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:17 pm

norunner wrote:
gh wrote:Bubka, on the other hand, is the beneficiary of a change in the rules (size of pegs) which may make his records last forever. (Not that I think there's currently anybody about who could match what he did with the bigger pegs)
Bubka could have jumped 6.15 even with the current rules, he didn't even touch the pole during his 6.15.

If he didn't touch the pole, how did he get up that high? :P
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby LopenUupunut » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:06 am

dj wrote:
LopenUupunut wrote:Out of sheer curiosity, who did you pick as #1 in the '24 retro-rankings? Did Barnes get the nod with his Oly gold or did Spearow's superior top end trump it?
Barnes, although it could still be open to debate. Barnes is undefeated, including the OG gold, a tie for 1st in the US FOT, and a win in the US-British Empire dual. Aside from his SnPacAAU win, the rest of his wins are in high school meets. But he also has the best set of marks on the year except for Spearow.

Spearow has two things working against him. He's only 6th at the OG, and it's not as if he lost on a countback or by one height. He lost be at least three bar settings, clearing 3.70, while 1st and 2nd cleared 3.95. The loss gave him losing records against all those who beat him, including the three US medalists, all of whom he tied at the US FOT with Spearow. The second thing is that ATFS categorizes all his big marks in Japan as exhibitions. Is there a reason to think otherwise about the Japanese marks?
Spearow injured his ankle in training ahead of the Olympics. A healthy Spearow would have jumped way higher than 370. Of course, we don't give athletes a free pass for being injured in modern rankings, so there's no reason to do so in retro-rankings :)
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby gh » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:51 am

dj wrote:…. The second thing is that ATFS categorizes all his big marks in Japan as exhibitions. Is there a reason to think otherwise about the Japanese marks?


I know zero about this situation, but have to wonder if the "exhibition" tag was placed on the marks simply because they were 1-event competitions that are now common and accepted, but weren't' then? As opposed to just a true 1-man exhibition.

If there were others in it, making it a "competition," I'd think that some retroactive thinking needs to be applied.
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby no one » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:53 am

Seagren showing some restraint by 'handing' the pole to IAAF official, no? I remember feeling some measure of being cheated as well, as I had followed Seagren from HS.
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby bambam » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:34 am

no one wrote:Seagren showing some restraint by 'handing' the pole to IAAF official, no? I remember feeling some measure of being cheated as well, as I had followed Seagren from HS.


Well, he sorta half handed, half threw it at Paulen. I was being nice.
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby bambam » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:37 am

While we're on pole vaulting, here's a little orthopaedic / sports medicine / vaulting trivia for you. Certainly many of you have heard of James Andrews, known to those of us in this world as Jimmy, the well-known sports medical surgeon.

What you may not know is that Jimmy was a pole vaulter and vaulted at LSU in the 60s. His boyhood hero was Don Bragg, he has told me.
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby gh » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:20 pm

bambam wrote:
no one wrote:Seagren showing some restraint by 'handing' the pole to IAAF official, no? I remember feeling some measure of being cheated as well, as I had followed Seagren from HS.


Well, he sorta half handed, half threw it at Paulen. I was being nice.


Memories fade, but I don' recall any "throwing"; he handed it to him with an "if looks could kill" visage.

Speaking of vague memories, I seem to recall there was another change foisted on the vaulters that didn't go over well, with Bruce Simpson of Canada being a prime complainer. Something regarding the use of protective padding on the wrists.
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Re: the greatest men's vaulter ever? [split]

Postby 4:24-miler » Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:01 pm

I was wondering if Warmerdam and Bubka ever met? Warmerdam died in November 2001.
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