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An Illustrated History of Pole Vault

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Sixteenth gold
An Illustrated History of Pole Vault

Bob Seagren with daughter Kirsten in 2004, at the premier of the movie "Miracle."

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Bob Seagren's 1968 gold medal extended the U.S. Olympic pole vault winning streak to 16. The American streak ended in controversy in 1972 when many competitors - including Seagren - were not permitted to use their carbon fiber poles. Seagren won a silver medal that year.

The carbon fiber poles were just the latest incarnation of pole vaulting technology. The first poles were likely large sticks or tree limbs. Competitors in the 19th Century used wooden poles. Bamboo was employed prior to World War II, when it was replaced by metal. Fiberglass poles were introduced in the 1950s.

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