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Bob Mathias

From Academic Kids

Bob Mathias, popular name of Robert Bruce Mathias, (born November 19, 1930 in Tulare, California) was an American decathlete, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and a Congressman.

Bob Mathias took up the decathlon at the suggestion of his coach at Tulare High School early in 1948. During the summer, he qualified for the United States Olympic team for the 1948 Summer Olympics held in London.

In the Olympics, Mathias' na´vetÚ for the decathlon was exposed. He was unaware of the rules in the shot put and nearly fouled out of the event. He almost failed in the high jump but was able to recover. Mathias overcame his difficulties and won the Olympic gold medal easily.

Mathias continued to fare well in decathlons in the four years between the London games and the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He entered Stanford University. Mathias also set his first world record in 1950.

At Helsinki, Mathias asserted himself as the world's outstanding athlete. He won the decathlon by 912 points, an astounding margin. He returned to the United States as a national hero.

After the Olympics, Mathias retired from athletics having won two gold medals. He later appeared in a film about his early life called The Bob Mathias Story.

Between 1967 and 1974, he served in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican from California.


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