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Carr wins battle of Americans for vault gold

17/05/1928

The men’s pole vault at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam was less of a guessing game about which nation would provide the winner, more a matter of which American would claim the ultimate glory.

They completely dominated the competition.

The favourites going into the event on a rainy afternoon in Holland were Sabin Carr and Lee Barnes, the winner of the 1924 gold in Paris.

Carr and Barnes had spent the previous 12 months exchanging the world record and when both comfortably cleared the qualifying mark of 12 feet in the preliminaries the stage was set for a terrific finale.

The elements did not play in their favour with a strong, gusting wind and heavy rain making the run-up and landing equally treacherous.

However Carr was the one who excelled in the trying conditions.

He set a new Olympic record of 13ft 7 inches to win the gold medal by a margin of over three inches to continue the Americans’ good run in the field events after the poor showing of their athletes on the track.

Barnes, who later achieved fame as a stunt double for the silent movie star Buster Keaton, finished in a disappointing fifth place with the silver going to American William Droegemuller and team-mate Charles McGinnis in third.

Discover the best photos of Amsterdam 1928

  • The 1928 “Céleste” club

    The football team entered victoriously by Uruguay at the 1928 Games. Andrés Mazali stands third from right

    ©IOC

  • Winner’s medal Amsterdam 1928

    The reverse of the medal shows an athlete carried triumphantly in victory. This motif was used on the reverse of summer Olympic medals until 1968, when a different reverse was designed for the Munich 1972 Games

    ©IOC

  • AAANX093

    Amsterdam 1928-Italian competitors (ITA) on the boat arriving in Amsterdam.

  • XAAQA003

    Amsterdam 1928-WIDE Edvin (SWE) 3rd in 5000 m and 10000 m.

  • XAAQA007

    Amsterdam 1928-Field hockey-Count Henri DE BAILLET-LATOUR congratulating the Belgian team (BEL) 4e.

  • XAAQA001

    Amsterdam 1928-1500m-In 8th position, MARTIN Paul (SUI) 6th.

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