Bud Held

Bud Held
Personal information
BornOctober 25, 1927 (1927-10-25) (age 95)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Medal record

Franklin Wesley "Bud" Held (born October 25, 1927) is an American athlete primarily notable for his performance throwing the javelin. He was born in Los Angeles, California.

College career

Held started as a pole vaulter at Grossmont High School near San Diego, where he finished in a 3-way tie for 4th place at the 1946 CIF California State Meet.[1] He switched to the javelin while a student at Stanford University, where he won the NCAA javelin championship in 1948, 1949, and 1950.[2][3] Held won the AAU USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships six times, 1949, 1951, 1953 to 55 and 1958.[4] Held set six American records in the javelin, and in 1953 became the first American to hold the world javelin record with an effort of 263 feet 10 inches (80.42 m); in so doing, Held became the first athlete ever to throw the 800-gram (1.8 lb) javelin over 80 m (260 ft).[2] He set a second world record of 268 feet 2 inches (81.74 m) in 1955, and his career best throw was 270 feet 0 inches (82.30 m) in 1956.[2]

International competition

Held was a member of the United States' 1952 Olympic team where he placed ninth[5] after a shoulder injury, and missed making the 1956 Olympic team by an inch.[2] He won a gold medal in the 1955 Pan American Games in 1955 with a throw of 69.77 meters (228.9 ft).[6]

Master's competition

Held continues to compete in masters competitions. In 1970, Held set a United States national masters javelin record of 229 ft 3 in (69.88 m).[2] On October 4, 2008 at the Club West Masters Track meet in Santa Barbara, Held set the age 80+ World Record in the pole vault[7] adding to the M75 World Record he already holds. He is also ranked in the discus.[8] He also coaches his live-in partner Nadine O'Connor,[9] who holds the women's 65+ pole vault world record, among numerous other track and field records.[10]

Outside of competition

After his retirement from standard competition, Held became a sporting equipment businessman.[2] He founded Ektelon, inventing the world's first aluminum tennis racquet and its related stringing equipment from his San Diego garage, then subsequently the first aluminum racquetball racquet.[11] He also invented a hollow javelin that was used into the 1960s, but his design was later outlawed due to safety concerns.[2][12]


Held was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1987,[2] the USATF Masters Hall of Fame in 2005[13] and is a member of the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame.[14]


  1. ^ "California State Meet Results - 1915 to present". Hank Lawson. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Franklin (Bud) Held". USATF.com. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  3. ^ "Outdoor Track and Field - Division I Men's" (PDF). NCAA. 2006.
  4. ^ "USATF - Statistics - USA Outdoor Track & Field Champions". Archived from the original on 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  5. ^ Franklin Held at Sports Reference
  6. ^ "Pan American Games". GBRAthletics.com. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  7. ^ "Records Outdoor Men". Archived from the original on 2012-08-03. Retrieved 2012-08-03. WMA Men's World Records
  8. ^ "USA Masters Track and Field Rankings: Bud Held". USATF.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  9. ^ "Couple show age is no barrier in track and field". USA Today. July 8, 2009. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
  10. ^ "Records Outdoor Women". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-02-07. WMA Women's World Records
  11. ^ "Ektelon : History". Archived from the original on 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2009-12-06. Ektelon history
  12. ^ "Get the point?". ScienceIQ.com. Archived from the original on 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  13. ^ http://www.usatf.org/HallOfFame/Masters/ USATF Masters Hall of Fame
  14. ^ "The Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame". Stanford Athletics website. Archived from the original on 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2007-08-10.

External links