Inducted: 1975, athlete
Born: February 20, 1926 - Champaign, Illinois
Pole Vault - 4.73 m
Decathlon - 7313 pts.
The "Vaulting Vicar" as he was known in his competitive days, the Rev. Robert "Bob" Richards was a versatile athlete who made three Olympic teams in two events. He competed in the 1948, 1952 and 1956 Games as a pole vaulter and also was a decathlete in 1956. The second man to pole vault 15 feet, he was the Olympic pole vault gold medalist in 1952 and 1956 after winning the bronze medal in 1948. He also was 13th in the 1956 Olympic decathlon. While a student at the University of Illinois, Richards tied for the national collegiate pole vault title and followed that with 20 National AAU titles, including 17 in the pole vault. The only two-time Olympic gold medal winner in the pole vault, Richards was virtually unbeatable indoors, winning the pole vault at the Millrose Games 11 consecutive times. He later became involved in physical fitness and continued to vault in his later years. Richards had two sons who also were outstanding pole vaulters and one, Brandon, held the national high school record. An ordained minister, Richards was elected to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983.
1948 Olympics: Pole Vault (3rd)
1952 Olympics: Pole Vault (1st)
1956 Olympics: Pole Vault (1st)
1956 Olympics: Decathlon (13th)
undergraduate: Illinois (Champaign, Illinois), 1947