The “Pole Vaulting Pastor,” Bob was a three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic champion. He won the bronze medal in 1948 and gold in 1952 and 1956, as well as 12 indoor and 11 outdoor national championships.

After his successful Olympic career, Bob became a spokesperson for Wheaties and was featured on the box for an impressive 13 years. Bob’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance and determination. He will be missed but never forgotten.

Today, we mourn the loss of Bob Richards, a national treasure and one of the oldest Olympians at 97 years old. Despite starting as a skinny, stuttering kid from Illinois, Bob overcame his speech impediment by reading the Bible and preaching. He eventually became a pastor and travelled around the country giving sermons, all while competing in the pole vault at the University of Illinois. Known as the “Vaulting Vicar” and the “Pole Vaulting Pastor,” Bob was a three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic champion. He won the bronze medal in 1948 and gold in 1952 and 1956, as well as 12 indoor and 11 outdoor national championships.

Bob Richards was a true trailblazer. Not content with just excelling in sports, he used his preaching background to forge a path in sportscasting and motivational speaking. He didn’t just join the ranks of motivational speakers; he invented the art form. And he didn’t stop there.

Bob went on to give over 25,000 speeches worldwide to companies and organizations, sharing positive sports stories and motivating millions of people to pursue their dreams. As a dad, he instilled the same motivation in his kids, pushing them to be the best versions of themselves. He was the greatest father anyone could ask for, and his unwavering passion and dedication will be deeply missed.

 

Vaulter Magazine was privileged to have a profound conversation with the legendary Bob Richards a few years ago, and his life’s journey left an indelible mark on us. If you happen to have a moment, I implore you to take a gander at the Youtube videos featuring this remarkable man. His experiences and achievements are nothing short of awe-inspiring, and his story is one that should be heard by all.

By Doug Bouma – Vaulter Magazine – vaultermag@gmail.com

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