By Stan Greenberg
Last updated 2011-03-03
The weather had taken a turn for the worse by the time the pole vault was contested in 1948. The winner, Guinn Smith (USA), shown here, took the gold medal with his last jump, despite an injured knee. He was the last man to win the Olympic title using a bamboo pole. Bamboo had been in use since the early part of the century but were superceded by aluminium poles in the early 1950s. They in turn were replaced by fibre-glass poles in the late 1950s.
Smith’s victory was the eleventh time, out of a possible twelve occasions, that an American had won the pole vault. Their domination of the event would continue until 1972. Behind the uprights can be seen the indicator boards for the discus event in the background, and on the left can be seen the judges for the track events on their stepped stand.