Vintage Wisconsin: Charles McGinnis Known For Pole Vault, High Hurdles, High Jump.
On Aug. 1, 1928, Badger track and field star Charles McGinnis won a bronze medal with a pole vault of 12-11 at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.
McGinnis was hailed as “one of the greatest athletes ever developed in the Western Conference” for his college track career. He excelled in the high hurdles, the high jump and the pole vault.
The photo above is of McGinnis high jumping in the style common before the “Fosbury flop” became dominant after the 1968 Olympics. McGinnis won six Big Ten titles, including the conference high jump title as a sophomore and helped lead the University of Wisconsin to its first Big Ten indoor track title in 1927.
McGinnis headed to the Olympics with a strong American contingent of pole vaulters. After Sabin Carr and William Droegemueller claimed first and second, McGinnis tied for third with Canadian Victor “Vic” Pickard and fellow American Lee Barnes but won the jump off to claim the bronze. His win put three Americans on the podium, a “Triple Yank Victory”according to the headline in Madison’s Capital Times on Aug. 1, 1928.