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article imageMeet George Davies: Former world record holder in pole vault Special

By Markos Papadatos     Apr 23, 2018 in Sports
American pole vaulter and former world record holder George Davies chatted with Digital Journal about his illustrious career in pole vault.
Davies set his world record on May 20, 1961 in Boulder, Colorado, where he successfully jumped 4.83 meters. As a result, Davies was the first pole vaulter to break a world record with a fiberglass pole. "I was just a young kid and thrilled. I was a 20-year-old sophomore," he said. "I was always told that I was too slow to be a world class vaulter. I never let that get me down, so it worked out."
He noted that was drawn to pole vault since he excelled at it and liked it. "Anytime you excel at something, you tend to gravitate that way. I just ate, drank and slept pole vault for 10 years after that," he said. Davies also praised the pole vault community for being very "tight-knit."
Regarding the impact of technology in pole vault over the years, Davies said, "Things have come a long way since then with all these artificial runways. Technology is factored in everything. The biggest thing was the pole since you can hold it higher when you bend it that far. The longest poles you could get back in my day were 16 feet, and now those are pretty common."
On the key to longevity in pole vault, Davies said, "Staying in shape and injury prevention, especially when you get to my age group. It's about who is the healthiest athlete."
Davies also coached for five years at the Glendale Community College, where he served as a coach for all the jumpers: high jumpers, long jumpers and pole vaulters. "I probably had better success with my high jumpers," he said, with a laugh.
In addition to his career as a pole vaulter, Davies was also a captain at the Phoenix Fire Department in Arizona.
Bubba Sparks, who has been practicing pole vault for 52 years, stated, "Talking to George is like a fireside chat with your best friend, who happens to be a history professor. The enormity of the man and his achievements are humbling. He's larger than life but a kind and gentle man. I knew him from legend, being the first man to ever set a world record on a fiberglass pole, but the talent and stories behind the man will make you love him for life."
Sparks continued, "My greatest gift ever from the National Pole Vault Summit was not just getting to meet one of my lifelong heroes, but to find that we both established an instant friendship. He is definitely one of the most remarkable people I've ever met. I somehow feel connected to George like we're family. Love that guy."
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