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Bob Mathias

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Preceded by
Bob Mathias

Political party

Resting place
Tulare Cemetery

Succeeded by

Bob Mathias Bob Mathias The Daily Dose

Full Name
Robert Bruce Mathias

November 17, 1930Tulare, California, USA (

Alma mater
Tulare Union High SchoolStanford University

ActorUS House of RepresentativesUnited States Marine Corps

September 2, 2006, Fresno, California, United States

Gwendoyln Alexander (m. 1977–2006), Melba Mathias (m. 1954–1976)

Megan Mathias, Alyse Alexander, Marissa Mathias, Romel Mathias, Reiner Mathias

The Bob Mathias Story, An American Odyssey: The Bob Mathias Story

Movies and TV shows
Minotaur - the Wild Beast of, China Doll, It Happened in Athens, The Troubleshooters

Similar People
Milt Campbell, Silvio Amadio, Floyd Simmons, Francis D Lyon, Frank Borzage

Bob mathias wiki videos

Robert Bruce Mathias (November 17, 1930 – September 2, 2006) was an American decathlete, two-time Olympic gold medalist in the event, a United States Marine Corps officer, actor and United States Congressman representing the state of California.


Bob Mathias wwwnndbcompeople440000032344bobmathias01jpg

Olympic track hero bob mathias

Early life and athletic career


Mathias was born in Tulare, California. He attended Tulare Union High School, where he was a classmate and long time friend of Sim Iness, the 1952 Olympic discus gold medalist. While at Tulare Union in early 1948, Mathias took up the decathlon at the suggestion of his track coach, Virgil Jackson. During the summer following his high school graduation, he qualified for the United States Olympic team for the 1948 Summer Olympics held in London.

Bob Mathias Robert Mathias Becomes First To Retain Decathlon Gold

In the Olympics, Mathias's naïveté about 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. At age 17, he became the youngest gold medalist in a track and field event.

Mathias continued to fare well in decathlons in the four years between the London games and the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. In 1948, Mathias won the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete, but because his scholastic record in high school did not match his athletic achievement, he spent a year at The Kiski School, a well-respected all-boys boarding school in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania. He then entered Stanford University in 1949, played college football for two years and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Mathias set his first decathlon world record in 1950 and led Stanford to a Rose Bowl appearance in 1952. After graduating from Stanford in 1953 with a BA in Education, Mathias spent two and a half years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was promoted to the rank of captain and was honorably discharged.

At Helsinki in 1952, Mathias established himself as one of the world's greatest all-around athletes. He won the decathlon by the astounding margin of 912 points, which established a new world record, and he became the first person to successfully defend an Olympic decathlon title. He returned to the United States as a national hero. His 7,887 point total at the Helsinki Olympics remained the school record at Stanford for 63 years, until it was finally broken in 2015 by a freshman, Harrison Williams. In 1952, he was, therefore, the first person to ever compete in an Olympics and a Rose Bowl the same year. After the 1952 Olympics, Mathias retired from athletic competition. He later became the first director of the United States Olympic Training Center, a post he held from 1977 to 1983.

He and his wife Melba can be seen on the 29th April 1954 edition of You Bet Your Life. During the discussion he mentions a forthcoming film in which the couple played themselves, called The Bob Mathias Story. He also starred in a number of mostly cameo-type roles in a variety of movies and TV shows throughout the 1950s. In the 1959–1960 television season, Mathias played Frank Dugan, with costars Keenan Wynn as Kodiak and Chet Allen as Slats, in the NBC adventure series The Troubleshooters, which focused twenty-six episodes on events at construction sites. In 1960, he also appeared playing an athletic Theseus in an Italian "peplum," or sword-and-sandal, film: Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete.

Political career

Between 1967 and 1975, Mathias served four terms in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican, representing the northern San Joaquin Valley of California. (These were the same eight years in which Ronald Reagan served two terms as Governor of California.) He defeated Harlan Hagen, the 14-year Democratic Party incumbent, by about 11 percent in the 1966 election. This was not too surprising, since this area had started to pull away from its New Deal Democratic roots.

Mathias was re-elected three times without serious difficulty, but in 1974, his district's boundaries were radically altered in a mid-decade redistricting. His district was renumbered as the 17th District, and picked up a large chunk of Fresno while losing several rural areas. Mathias was then narrowly defeated for re-election by John Hans Krebs, a member of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Mathias was one of several Republicans swept out in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

From June to August 1975, Mathias served as the Deputy Director of the Selective Service. Mathias was also involved in the unsuccessful 1976 Presidential re-election campaign of President Gerald Ford.


Bob Mathias was diagnosed with cancer in 1996, and died as a result in Fresno, California on September 2, 2006 at age 75. He is interred at Tulare Cemetery in Tulare, California. He was survived by wife Gwen, daughters Romel, Megan, Marissa, Alyse Alexander, son Reiner, brothers Eugene and Jim, and sister Patricia Guerrero.


It Happened in Athens as
Coach Graham
The Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete as
Prince Teseo
Troubleshooters (TV Series) as
Frank Dugan / Dugan
- The Carnival (1960) - Frank Dugan
- No Stone Unturned (1960) - Frank Dugan
- Fire in the Hole (1960) - Frank Dugan
- The Landmark (1960) - Frank Dugan
- Senorita (1960) - Frank Dugan
- Head-Hunter Road (1960) - Frank Dugan
- Incident at Rain Mountain (1960) - Dugan
- The Town That Wouldn't Die (1960) - Frank Dugan
- High Steel (1960) - Frank Dugan
- The Big Blaze (1960) - Frank Dugan
- Harry Maru (1960) - Frank Dugan
- The Mountain That Moved (1960) - Frank Dugan
- The Chain (1959) - Frank Dugan
- Trouble at the Orphanage (1959) - Frank Dugan
- Tunnel to Yesterday (1959) - Frank Dugan
- Trapped (1959) - Frank Dugan
- Downrange (1959) - Frank Dugan
- The Big Squeeze (1959) - Frank Dugan
- Pipeline (1959) - Frank Dugan
- Gino (1959) - Frank Dugan
- Moment of Terror (1959) - Frank Dugan
- Tiger Culhane (1959) - Frank Dugan
- The Lower Depths (1959) - Frank Dugan
- Trouble at Elbow Bend (1959) - Frank Dugan
- The Law and the Profits (1959) - Frank Dugan
- Liquid Death (1959) - Frank Dugan
China Doll as
Capt. Phil Gates
The Bob Mathias Story as
Bob Mathias
Bob Mathias: Hometown Hero (Video documentary) as
Bearing the Torch: Politics & the Olympics (TV Movie documentary) as
The Stars Salute the U.S. Olympic Team (TV Special) as
Self - Performer
Good Morning America (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- dated 2 December 1975 (1975) - Self - Guest
The Joey Bishop Show (TV Series) as
- Episode #2.100 (1968) - Self
I've Got a Secret (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode dated 9 September 1963 (1963) - Self - Guest
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (TV Series) as
- The Man in the Funny Suit (1960) - Self
The Ed Sullivan Show (TV Series) as
- Episode #11.32 (1958) - Self
The All New Truth or Consequences (TV Series) as
- Bob Mathias (1956) - Self
The Swift Show Wagon with Horace Heidt and the American Way (TV Series) as
- Bob Mathias (1955) - Self
You Bet Your Life (TV Series) as
- Episode #4.33 (1954) - Self
U.S. Olympic Champions (Documentary short) as
Self - U. S. Olympic Team-Member
Helsinki 1952: Games of the XV Olympiad (TV Mini Series) as
London 1948: Games of the XIV Olympiad (TV Mini Series) as
XIVth Olympiad: The Glory of Sport (Documentary) as
Self - Decathlete


Bob Mathias Wikipedia

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