As a young pole vaulter in the 1950s and ’60s, I had the opportunity to travel to vault in a number of international competitions. During my travels, I came to meet a number of outstanding athletes, officials and coaches from all over the world, many of whom I still am in contact with today and count among my friends. One such person is Gerard Dumas, a young athlete I met in France, who later emigrated to Canada and now coaches the next generation of pole vaulters.

Gerard is an amazing statistician when it comes to the history of the pole vault event. The following is a list he has compiled, which he acknowledges is not in strict accordance with the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), but rather tends to ignore the bureaucratic reasons’ that may have excluded certain marks. In the beginning, says Gerard, the records were made by `amateurs` or `professional` athletes and it was difficult to differentiate between marks that were deemed legitimate or not due to that climbing style in favor in England prior to 1900. Gerard says that this list represents a compromise of all lists available to him and is, to his knowledge, statistically sound. Says Gerard: "I am very much indebted to H. Berry and Dave Terry of England for the very early marks. I also have found marks indicated by Ekkehard zur Megede and Richard Hymans. And finally, I must thank Roberto Quercetani of Italy for his continuous help for over more than four decades in correcting my own notes dating from the early fifties."

Many thanks to Gerard for his meticulous work assembling this extensive list. I hope those who take the time to review it enjoy and appreciate not only the work that went into compiling it, but the great pole vaulting heritage it represents.

- Ron Morris
Wood Era (Ash, Hickory, Hazelwood, Etc)
6'0" George Von Busche GER 1789
8'3" Goerge Von Busche GER 1790
8'6" John Alcock GBR 1839
8'6" Robert Wilson GBR 1848
8'6" Henry Harrington GBR 1849
9'5" Henry Harrington GBR 1849
10'0" W.B. Gilbert AUS 1860
10'0" John F. Wheeler GBR 1866
10'0" Sydney Hyde GBR 1867
10'0" Robert Horne GBR 1867
10'0" Alfred Lubbock GBR 1868
10'1/2" W.F. Powell-Moore GBR 1868
10'6-1/4" Ronald C. Mitchell GBR 1868
10'7" Edwin Woodburn GBR 1873
10'7" William Kelsey GBR 1873
10'7" John Wigful GBR 1873
10'7" Edwin Woodburn GBR 1874
10'7" John Wigful GBR 1875
10'8-1/2" Charles Gaskin GBR 1876
10'10-3/4" Charles Gaskin GBR 1876
10'11-1/4" Charles Gaskin GBR 1877
11'3/4" Henry Kayll GBR 1877
11'3-3/4" Hugh Baxter USA 1887
11'5" Hugh Baxter USA 1887
Bamboo Era
11'5-3/8" Walter Rodenbaugh USA 1892
11'6-1/8" Raymond Clapp USA 1898
11'10-1/2" Raymond Clapp USA 1898
11'1-1/4" Norman Dole USA 1904
12'1-3/8" Fernand Gonder FRA 1904
12'3-1/4" Fernand Gonder FRA 1905
12'3-1/4" Leroy Samse USA 1906
12'4-7/8" Leroy Samse USA 1906
12'5-1/2" Walter Dray USA 1907
12'6-1/2" Walter Dray USA 1908
12'7-3/4" Alfred Gilbert USA 1908
12'8" Alfred Gilbert USA 1908
12'9-1/2" Walter Dray USA 1908
12'10-1/4" Leland Scott USA 1910
12'10-7/8" Leland Scott USA 1910
13'1" Robert Gardner USA 1912
I.A.A.F. era.
13'2-1/4" Marcus Wright USA 1912
13'3-9/16" Frank Foss USA 1919
13'5" Frank Foss USA 1920
13'6-1/4" Charles Hoff NOR 1922
13'7-7/8" Charles Hoff NOR 1923
13'9-3/4" Charles Hoff NOR 1923
13'10-1/4" Ralph Spearow USA 1924
13'10-1/2" Charles Hoff NOR 1925
13'11-1/2" Charles Hoff NOR 1925
14'0" Sabin Carr USA 1927
14'0" Lee Barnes USA 1928
14'0" Ward Edmonds USA 1928
14'1-1/2" Lee Barnes USA 1928
14'1-5/8" William Miller USA 1932
14'1-5/8" William Graber USA 1932
14'4-38" William Graber USA 1932
14'5-1/8" Keith Brown USA 1935
14'6" George Varoff USA 1936
14'7-3/8" William Sefton USA 1937
14'8-1/2" William Sefton USA 1937
14'8-1/2" Earle Meadows USA 1937
14'8-7/8" William Sefton USA 1937
14'11" William Sefton USA 1937
14'11" Earle Meadows USA 1937
15'0" Cornelius Warmerdam USA 1940
15'1-1/8" Cornelius Warmerdam USA 1940
15'2-5/8" Cornelius Warmerdam USA 1941
15'4-1/4" Cornelius Warmerdam USA 1941
15'5-3/4" Cornelius Warmerdam USA 1941
15'6-7/8" Cornelius Warmerdam USA 1942
15'7-3/4" Cornelius Warmerdam USA 1942
Metal Era
15'8-1/4"
Robert Gutowski
USA
1957
15'9-3/4"
Robert Gutowski
USA
1957
(Pole passsed under the bar)
15'9-1/4"
Don Bragg
USA
1960
 
Fiber Glass/Carbon Fiber Era
15'10-1/4"
George Davies
USA
1961
16'3/4"
John Uelses
USA
1962
16'2"
David Tork
USA
1962
16'2-1/2"
Pentti Nikula
FIN
1962
16'3"
John Pennel
USA
1963
16'4"
John Pennel
USA
1963
16'5"
Brian Sternberg
USA
1963
16'6-3/4"
John Pennel
USA
1963
16'7"
Brian Sternberg
USA
1963
16'8"
Brian Sternberg
USA
1963
16'8-3/4"
John Pennel
USA
1963
16'9"
John Pennel
USA
1963
16'10-1/4"
John Pennel
USA
1963
17'3/4"
John Pennel
USA
1963
17'1"
Fred Hansen
USA
1964
17'2"
Fred Hansen
USA
1964
17'4"
Fred Hansen
USA
1964
17'5-1/2"
Robert Seagren
USA
1966
17'5-1/2"
Robert Seagren
USA
1966
17'6-3/4"
John Pennel
USA
1966
17'6-1/4
John Pennel
USA
1966
17'7"
Robert Seagren
USA
1968
17'10-1/4
John Pennel
USA
1969
17'10-1/2"
Wolfgang Nordwig
GDR
1970
17'11"
Wolfgang Nordwig
GDR
1970
18'1/4"
Christos Papnicolaou
GRE
1970
18'1"
Kjell Isaksson
SWE
1972
18'2"
Kjell Isaksson
SWE
1972
18'2-1/2"
Kjell Isaksson
SWE
1972
18'4"
Robert Seagren
USA
1972
18'4"
Kjell Isaksson
USA
1972
18'5-3/4"
Robert Seagren
USA
1972
18'6-1/2"
David Roberts
USA
1975
18'7-1/4"
Earl Bell
USA
1976
18'8-1/4"
David Roberts
USA
1976
18'8-3/4"
Mike Tully
USA
1978
18'9-1/4"
Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz
POL
1980
18'10-1/2"
Thierry Vigneron
FRA
1980
18'10-1/2"
Thierry Vigneron
FRA
1980
18'11-1/4"
Philippe Houvion
FRA
1980
18'11-1/2"
Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz
POL
1980
19'1/4"
Thierry Vigneron
FRA
1981
19'3/4"
Vladimir Polyakov
URS
1981
19'1"
Pierre Quinon
FRA
1983
19'1-1/2"
Thierry Vigneron
FRA
1983
19'2-1/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1984
19'3-1/2"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1984
19'4-1/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1984
19'4-3/4"
Thierry Vigneron
FRA
1984
19'5-3/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1984
19'8-1/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1985
19'8-3/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1986
19'9-1/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1987
19'10-1/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1988
19'10-3/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1988
19'11"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1991
19'11-1/2"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1991
19'11-3/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1991
20'1/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1991
20'1/2"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1992
20'1"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1992
20'1-1/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1992
20'1-3/4"
Sergey Bubka
URS
1994
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