July 17, 2012 – Looking back 40-plus years, Bob Seagren, one of the world’s top pole vault athletes at the time and who graced the cover of a 1967 issue of Sports Illustrated, recalled the life-changing experiences as a participant in two Olympic Games.
A native of Pomona, Seagren graduated from USC in 1968 – the same year he attended the Olympics in Mexico City and turned 21. There, he won the gold in the pole vault event. Four years later, Seagren earned himself a silver medal in 1972 at the Olympic Games in Munich.
After Munich, Seagren and his fellow athletes started a professional track tour that he said, “died a slow death by 1976, right before the next Olympics.” Due to an Olympic rule at the time, Seagren was considered a professional athlete and could no longer qualify for the Olympics.
He transitioned out of the role of professional athlete and explored various business opportunities in several sectors. Seagren has owned a travel agency, restaurants and a marketing firm; he worked for international shoe brand Puma as vice president of sales and marketing for a while; and performed as an actor and made special appearances on various television shows. “I dabbled around in a lot of different things, looking for fun and trying to make a buck,” he said.