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Don Bragg

Photo of Don Bragg

Inducted: 1996, athlete

Born: May 15, 1935 - Penns Grove, New Jersey

Pole Vault - 4.81 m

Don Bragg was the last of the great pole vaulters to use a steel pole. From 1954 until 1960, he was always world ranked and capped a brilliant career in 1960 by setting a world record of 15' 9 1/4" at the Olympic Trials and winning an Olympic gold medal with a vault of 15' 5". He set a world indoor record of 15' 9 1/2" at Philadelphia in 1959 and, like Hall of Famer Cornelius Warmerdam, vaulted better indoors than outdoors. At 6' 3" and 197 pounds, Bragg was one of the largest vaulters in history. While at Villanova University, he won the NCAA pole vault championship in 1955 and was the IC4A champion, both indoors and outdoors, from 1955 to 1957. He also tied for the AAU indoor championship. After graduating in 1957, Bragg again tied for the AAU indoor championship in 1958, then won the event from 1959 through 1961. He was also the AAU outdoor champion in 1959. Nicknamed "Tarzan" because of his size and strength, Bragg's goal was to play that role in the movies. His dream was unfulfilled. He later became athletic director at Stockton State College (N.J.), the owner of a summer camp, and the author of A Chance to Dare: The Don Bragg Story.

Records Held
World Record: Pole Vault - 4.81 m
World Record: Pole Vault - 4.81 m (July 2, 1960 - )

1960 Olympics: Pole Vault - 4.70 m (1st)
1957 AAU Indoors: Pole Vault (1st)
1958 AAU Indoors: Pole Vault (1st)
1959 AAU Indoors: Pole Vault (1st)
1959 AAU Outdoors: Pole Vault (1st)
1960 AAU Indoors: Pole Vault (1st)
1961 AAU Indoors: Pole Vault (1st)
1955 NCAA: Pole Vault (1st)

high school: Penns Grove (Penns Grove, New Jersey), 1953
undergraduate: Villanova (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 1957


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