50th anniversary of alum’s Olympic gold medal

Fred Morgan Hansen ’63 remains the only Rice athlete who has won an Olympic gold medal. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that achievement and a couple of pole-vaulting records. On June 5, 1964, Hansen became the first pole-vaulter in history to clear 17 feet by jumping 17 feet, 1 inch,” and a few weeks later he went even higher – 17 feet, 4 inches — in a match against the U.S.S.R. in Los Angeles — a world record that stood for two years. After a magical summer season, Hansen represented the United States in the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in October in Tokyo, Japan. The competition came down to Hansen and three German vaulters in the final round, and Hansen won the gold medal. Hansen, a longtime Houston dentist who will turn 74 in December, will be honored for his amazing accomplishments at Rice’s homecoming this year.

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About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is a Web editor in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.