Bob Seagren Owes A Lot to His Gold Medal

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Bob Seagren Owes A Lot to His Gold Medal

Unread postby Bubba PV » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:06 pm

KRIKORIAN: Seagren owes a lot to his gold
By Doug Krikorian, Sports Columnist
Posted: 10/16/2010 10:11:09 PM PDTUpdated: 10/16/2010 11:50:41 PM PDT

When Bob Seagren was asked the other day what celebrities would be attending today's Long Beach International City Bank Marathon, the CEO of the company that stages the race, International City Racing, shrugged and said, "I don't know of any."

Well, I do.

Seagren himself certainly would qualify as one.

Why, if you go to the website, it portrays Seagren "as a famous actor."

And here I always figured Seagren's fame came from his exploits in track and field as a world record-setting pole vaulter in which he won a gold medal in the event at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 and a silver medal at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

And, although Seagren never came close to winning an Emmy, he did appear in a lot of TV shows including "The Love Boat," "Wonder Woman," "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," "The Fantastic Seven," "Valentine Magic on Love Island."

He also appeared in the controversial sitcom "Soap," in which he played a gay football player named Dennis Phillips who had a relationship with Billy Crystal's character Jodie Dallas.

"I never really liked acting," says Seagren, who has lived the past 10 years on a 65-foot, four-stateroom yacht moored on the Alamitos Bay channel near PCH. "There were too many ups and downs in it. Sometimes you'd get a lot of work, and then things would dry up and you remain idle for too long a time. I did seven TV pilots, and none of them made it into a series. It was a very frustrating business."
He also, for six years, was the co-host of PM Magazine, which was sort of a precursor Entertainment Tonight.

"We did a local show in Los Angeles, and we also did a syndicated show that was seen on 54 stations around the country," Seagren says.

Despite his considerable work in front of TV cameras, Seagren never took it seriously and always understood that the only reason he wound up with so many opportunities was because of his athletic endeavors.

"That gold medal I won in Mexico City was my springboard into the entertainment field," he says "Sure, I took advantage of it. Why not? I was young, and there was good money to be made in the television business."

Seagren in those long ago days even was involved in a glamorous marriage, as his wife for a 12-year period was Kam Nelson, the stunning dancer on the hit TV series "Groovy" and "Boss City."

"We were together between 1970 and 1982, and had a daughter," he says. "She's now 36 and just got married last year."

Seagren also has 13-year-

old twins - a boy and girl - from a later marriage, and can be found most weekends entertaining his children on his large vessel.

A Pomona native who didn't exactly grow up yearning to become a seafarer, Seagren says economics dictated his decision to reside on water rather than land.

"After going through a second divorce, I just didn't have the money to go out and buy a house," he says. "And I wound up getting a good deal on the boat. Now I'm used to living on it. I've come to enjoy it. There's a privacy about it that you don't get living in a house."

When he arrived in Long Beach a decade ago, he got involved with the Long Beach Marathon with a couple of fellows named Blair Cohn, now the director of the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association, and John Goldman, now the Cerritos College cross country coach.

The trio worked together several years, and Seagren remained with International City Racing after the departures of Cohn and Goldman.

"I love my job," he says. "It allows me to still be involved in athletics."

While Seagren was a long-time jogger - "can't do it any longer because of bum knees" - he etched quite a legacy for himself on the sporting landscape with his skill as a pole vaulter.

While at USC, he won four NCAA titles.

He also was the national AAU champion on six occasions, and set four world records in his specialty during a six-year span, with the last one coming in the Olympic Trials at Eugene, Ore., in 1972 when he catapulted 18 feet, 7 inches.

He was expected to win his second goal medal in Munich, but on the eve of the Olympics the banana-style pole that he and most of the other vaulters were using was banned - and an East German named Wolfgang Nordwig won it.

"If I hadn't won that gold in '68, I'm not sure I'd have ever left Munich because I was so mad about their altering the rules on us at the last minute," he says.

The 64-year-old, 6-foot Seagren, who at 185 is only 10 pounds heavier than when he was competing, was quite an athlete during his prime, as he took first place in the inaugural American Superstars competition in 1973 and also won the first World Superstars in 1977.

He no longer exercises, and doesn't feel guilty about it.

"Listen, I've already worked out more in one lifetime than 10 people combined have in theirs," he says with a laugh.

Seagren is an affable, easy-going, self-effacing fellow who smiles readily and evinces an aura of contentment.

"I have a great life," he says. "I have three wonderful, healthy kids. I have a job I like. I live on a yacht. No complaints. I feel pretty blessed."
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Re: Bob Seagren Owes A Lot to His Gold Medal

Unread postby VaultPurple » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:13 pm

Just thought I would post some stats I found on Seagren. Not only did he win the Superstars world championship, he also had the highest career earning for the show.

Here you can see his stats and personal bests for all the events he did.

I posted it but it is clearer if you just look at the site.

Track and Field (Pole Vault)

B: October 17, 1946

1968 Olympic Pole Vault Champion

Seagren's career highlights include: six-time national AAU champion in the pole vault, 4 NCAA titles while at USC. Seagren set eight world records indoors and six outdoors, capped with a world record of 18 feet, 5 3/4 inches at the 1972 Olympic Trials. The 1967 Pan American champion, 1968 Olympic champion and 1972 Olympic Silver Medalist. Seagren was one of the inaugural members of the International Track Association, a professional track league that lasted from 1973 to 1976. He later went on to an acting career, best know as Billy Crystal's lover in "Soap."




1973 Final



Weight Lifting, Baseball Hit, Half Mile, Bike Race
1974 Preliminary 1

51 1/2


Swimming, Weight Lifting, Half Mile, Obstacle Course
1974 Final



Half Mile, Obstacle Course
1975 Preliminary 1



Rowing, 100 Yd. Dash, Half Mile, Obstacle Course, Swimming
1975 Final



Rowing, Half Mile, Obstacle Course
1977 Worlds



Swimming, Half Mile Run
1978 Worlds



1982 Preliminary 2



1982 Final

22 1/2





Swimming - 50 Yards
1977 Worlds
Swimming - 50 Meters

1973 Final
Swimming - 100 Yards
1977 Worlds
Swimming - 100 Meters

1975 Final

1974 Preliminary 1
Weight Lifting

1974 Final
Gym Test - Chin-Ups
1977 Worlds
Gym Test - Parallel Bar Dips
1977 Worlds
Gym Test - Chin-Ups + Dips
1977 Worlds
1977 Worlds
Baseball Hit

1973 Final
Table Tennis

1973 Final
100 Yard Dash

1975 Final
Half Mile Run

1977 Worlds
Bike Race - 1/2 Mile

1977 Worlds
Bike Race - Mile

1975 Final
Obstacle Course
1974 Final
Points Scored

1975 Preliminary 1

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