Fred Hansen

A four-sport athlete at Cuero High School in Cuero, Texas, Fred Hansen won the Texas AAA state championship in the pole vault and with his 13' 5 1/2" vault became the all-time state record holder, breaking the record previously held by 1932 Olympian Earle Meadows of Ft. Worth and then U.S.C. He was also an outstanding football halfback, and in August of 1959, played for the South in the annual Texas High School All-Star North-South game.

     Growing up in Cuero, Fred started working with the long pole in the sixth grade. His dad had an old bamboo pole and Fred started jumping over chairs, tables and fences. As he jumped higher and challenged the integrity of the pole, he began taping it to strengthen it. He and his dad dug a sand pit in the back yard, using sand from the river to land in, and he constructed a makeshift apparatus to jump over. The determination and focus that he developed in those early years led him to say years later, " . . . I felt there was no one in the world could beat me except myself. Everytime I jumped I knew I was going to win (unless I screwed up and beat myself)". Talking to Fred Hansen is like looking into the heart and soul of an olympic champion.

     At Rice, Fred didn't compete his Freshman year, but spent a great deal of time working out. As a sophomore, he achieved his first 15' vault to tie for 4th in the NCAA meet. At the Southwest Conference meet, he placed third in pole vault that year but won the broad jump at 24' 6 1/2", and also ran on a sprint relay. As a junior, he won the pole vault at the Texas Relays (15-6 1/2), the Kansas Relays (15-6 1/2) and the Drake Relays, and was the Southwest Conference Champion setting a new state record. He was NCAA co-champion, was an All-American and also successfully defended his SWC title in the broad jump. His senior year, he became one of only 10 in the world in the "16-Foot Club", vaulting 16' 1" to win the Texas Relays. He also repeated as champion at the Kansas Relays and the Drake Relays.

     He lost his SWC titles that year, as a result of back injuries he suffered throwing the javelin. He had volunteered to do that to help Rice win the SWC team championship (he threw over 200' and finished third and the team finished second). On that day, he scored points in the pole vault, broad jump and javelin. Not a bad day's work.

     As a graduate student, Fred continued to compete in the pole vault and broke the world record three times in six weeks in Houston, San Diego and Los Angeles, and his 17' 4" world record jump held until it was broken by Bob Seagren in 1966. Fred went on to win the gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in a grueling competition.
The photos below and to the right are of Fred Hansen's gold record jump in the olympics and the photo on the left is of him receiving the gold medal.

     Following a stellar undergraduate and graduate career at Rice, Fred went on to Baylor University College of Dentistry and as of 2007, has practiced dentistry in Houston throughout his career.

     His final vault in the Tokyo Olympics earned him the undisputed title of World Champion and the finest vaulter in the history of track & field. Fred was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1967 and the National Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2004. He is a life member of the Texas Dental Association and a member of the American Dental Association. This thirty third winner of the Bob Quin Award earned it in every category for which it is awarded and has lived its values for all of the years since the award.

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