Full Name: Robert Bruce Mathias; also known as Bob Mathias
Date of Birth: 17 th November, 1930
Died on: 2 nd September, 2006
Country: The United States of America
Sport involved in: Athletics—Decathlon
Winner of gold medal in the National Decathlon Championships in 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952
Gold medalist in the decathlon event at the 1948 London Summer Games
Received the James E. Sullivan Award in 1948
Winner of gold medal in the decathlon event at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games
Career: Robert Mathias started practicing decathlon at the age of 17. Mathias' coach at the Tulare High School was his inspiration. Mathias was selected in the U.S. Olympic team for the 1948 London Summer Games . In the Games, he won the first Olympic gold medal of his career in the decathlon event. The same year, Mathias won the National Decathlon Championships title and received the James E. Sullivan Award for his achievement as an amateur athlete. In 1949, he won the National decathlon Championships for the second time. That year he got admission in the Stanford University and got involved in college football for the next two years. In 1950, Mathias set the first decathlon world record of his career. In 1952, under Mathias' leadership, Stanford participated in the Rose Bowl and became the runner up in the competition. In the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games , Mathias successfully defended his Olympic decathlon title and became the first athlete to do so. With his appearances in the Rose Bowl and the Helsinki Olympics, Mathias became the first person to participate in both the competitions in the same year. Following the 1952 Helsinki Games, Mathias retired from the sport. Later, he held the post of the director of the United States Olympic Training centre from 1977 to 1983. He also got involved in politics after his retirement from the sport. The great decathlete died on 2 nd September in 2006.
Performance at the Olympics: Robert Mathias appeared at the 1948 London Summer Games as an inexperienced decathlete, when he was only 17 years old. In the Olympic shot put competition athletes were not allowed to leave the throwing circle from the front. Mathias did not know this rule. As a consequence, he was almost fouled out of the competition. In the high jump event also he almost failed. However, Mathias recovered from his difficulties and won his first Olympic gold medal in the decathlon competition. Mathias became the youngest in the history of men's athletics to win gold medal in the decathlon event. In the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games , Mathias successfully defended his Olympic title in the event. In the competition he improved his own world record by winning the event with a margin of 912 points.