Don Pellmann picks off M100 world records, becomes oldest jumper

Amazing all witnesses, Don Pellmann set five world age-group records Sunday — and became the oldest man to high jump and long jump in competition. At 100, he also smashed the 100-meter-dash world record by nearly 3 seconds and crushed listed records in the shot and discus as well. His only flaw at the San Diego Senior Olympics was not making a height in the pole vault — probably due to misjudging where to place the standards. He was over 3 feet in warmups. After beating the discus record on each of his three tries, I asked him about future meets. At first he said no, this was his final outing — given the difficulty and expense of travel. But when I asked him about Bay Area meets near his home in Santa Clara, Old Don Pellmann (as he signed his autograph) said he might try a meet in the spring. “I’d like to do two or three [events],” he said. For details on his day, and records, see my story at Times of San Diego.

Don bears down in the 100, where he finished in 26.99 seconds with a legal wind.

Don bears down in 100, where he finished in 26.99 seconds with a legal wind.

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September 20, 2015

8 Responses

  1. Ken stone - September 21, 2015

    Video on YouTube shows 4 world records:

  2. Jeff Davison - September 21, 2015

    Great shirt logo “100 …

  3. Weia Reinboud - September 21, 2015


  4. Rita Hanscom - September 21, 2015

    LOVE the video, Ken! Well done. Special thanks must go to Bud Held and Nadine O’Connor for being the support crew for Mr. Pellman. We witnessed world class care and kindness right there. Bud and Nadine, you two are the very best.
    And Chris Stone, your photos in the Times of San Diego article are FABULOUS! You really captured all the details we want to see. Thanks Chris and Ken for documenting such a thrilling day.

  5. Ken Stone - September 21, 2015

    Here’s the New York Times story:

    Great job, Karen!

  6. Nadine O'Connor - September 21, 2015

    Thanks for the kind comments, Rita. It was our pleasure. Don is an inspiration not just for his athletics. He is a kind, thoughtful, intelligent man who has made a positive difference in the world. We are proud to call him our friend.

    In addition to the excellent work and support of Ken and Chris, special thank you’s go to the officials, volunteers and announcers who made this meet possible.

    I was especially impressed with all the great kindness I saw at the meet.  Every one was patient and helpful, and the congratulations were constant.  I saw real smiles of admiration on so many young and old faces.  Many of the young volunteers were taking selfies with Don like he was a rock star. It was quite touching.  

  7. Ken Stone - September 21, 2015

    Minnesota Public Radio post on Don:

  8. Ken Stone - September 26, 2015

    In NPR interview aired Sept. 25, Don remarks on 100m record:
    “Well, that was pretty difficult, but that was a record that was held by a Japanese fellow. And now I hear in the news that he’s 105 years old, and he’s still running. So we’ll see what goes in the next five years for me if I can do it.”

    Listen here:

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