Name: Bob Richards
Sport: Track and Field
Discipline(s): Track and Field
Event(s): Pole Vault
DOB: 2/20/1926
Birthplace: Champaign, Ill.
Hometown: Champaign, Ill.
High School: Champaign Central High School (Champaign, Ill.)
College: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Olympic Experience
  • Three-time Olympian (1948, 1952, 1956); three-time Olympic medalist (2 golds, 1 bronze)
  • London 1948, bronze (pole vault)
  • Helsinki 1952, gold (pole vault)
  • Melbourne 1956, gold (pole vault)
Personal: One of five children...Tried the pole vault in seventh grade after participating in diving, football and tumbling...Was raised by a minister in the Church of the Brethren after the breakup of his home due to his parents’ divorce...Became a Brethren minister in 1946...Taught sociology at the University of Illinois in the late 1940s upon his retirement from track and field...Was named a Goodwill Ambassador to Asia by the U.S. State Department and delivered speeches on sports and patriotism...Held pulpits in the Church of the Brethren and joined the faculty at La Verne College (now University of La Verne)...Wrote an autobiography in 1959 entitled, “Heart of a Champion”...Father to four sons, three of whom have vaulted higher than their father.