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Commemorating Bob Seagren's Pole Vault Gold Medal...

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Bob Seagren's  1968 Olympic Gold Medal in the pole vault.
Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Bob Seagren's 1968 Olympic Gold Medal in the pole vault.

(Walnut, CA)  Fifty years ago at the Mexico City Olympic Games (October 16th, 1968), Mt. SAC Track and Field Star Bob Seagren gained international stardom, capturing the Gold Medal in the men’s pole vault.  One day shy of his 22nd birthday, Seagren won the competition with a jump of 17’08”1/2 (5.40M), setting a new Olympic Record and becoming the face of the U.S. Olympic Team. 

“It’s hard to believe it has been 50 years,” replied Seagren who is Mt. SAC’s sole Olympic Gold Medalist. 

When asked about when the reality of competing in the Olympics set in, Seagren replied, “the magnitude of competing in the Olympics really hit me at the opening ceremonies.  Seeing the huge crowd and number of countries represented, I knew this was a big event.  The final was memorable because it was an eight and a half hour long competition which started at noon and ended at 8:30 pm.  My first competition jump was at 3:30 pm.”

Although the games where held in Mexico City, Seagren had some Mt. SAC support there.  His Olympic Village roommate was not only a fellow world record holder at the time (400 Meter Hurdles, 48.94), he was also Seagren’s Olympic, USC and Mt. SAC Teammate, Geoff Vanderstock, who placed 4th at the games.  While at Mt. SAC, the two of them were members of Mt. SAC’s National Junior College Record Shuttle Hurdle Relay Team.     

Seagren continued his success at the 1972 Munich Olympics, taking the silver medal despite having his personal pole banned and having to use a borrowed pole.

During his pole vaulting career, Seagren broke the world record a total of six times, captured 4 NCAA Division 1 Championships and won the 1965 California Community College State Championship.  To better understand his dominance in that era, it took 36 years and another future 2-time Olympian (Giovanni Lanaro) to finally break his Mt. SAC Record of 17’01" in 2001.

Seagren parlayed his athletic stardom into business ventures, acting and other media opportunities.  He used his athletic prowess in other venues, winning the inaugural and popular ABC Television Show Superstars, which pitted top stars from all sports against each other.  Seagren also won the inaugural World Superstars competition in 1977.

He turned to acting and was a guest star in many television productions and shows including Adam-12, Wonder Woman, Dynasty, Fantasy Island, Charlies Angels, Fame, Falcon Crest, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman and the Love Boat.  He was a regular character (Dennis Phillips) on the show Soap and he was the long time host of PM Magazine. 

In business, he served over a decade as the Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Puma USA.  Seagren is currently the CEO of International City Racing.  His company manages, organizes and promotes large scale special events including the Long Beach Marathon, OC Marathon and various fitness events. 

Always giving back, Seagren served as chairperson for Mt. SAC’s successful bid for the 2020 US Olympic Track and Field Trials.  A member of the Mt. SAC Athletics Hall of Fame, he has also served as the MC for the past six hall of fame induction ceremonies.  In January (2019), in honor of the 50th anniversary of his Olympic Gold Medal, he will deliver the keynote address at the National Pole Vault Summit, in Reno (NV), where over 3,500 pole vaulters, coaches and enthusiasts from throughout the world are expected to attend.

Follow Mt. SAC Athletics on twitter @MtSAC_athletics or Facebook @Mountie.Athletics 

For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.