Masters legend Boo Morcom dies at 91; Hall of Famer as jumper

Boo Morcom in 2003.

The Concord Monitor shares sad news. Olympic vaulter Albert Richmond “Boo” Morcom, a Masters Hall of Famer, died Oct. 3 at age 91. He competed into the 1990s. His Wikipedia entry included this quote: “I went to 105 different countries. I won records everywhere. I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt and caught malaria. I would go to Canada, set a record, come home. My wife would have my bag packed, and 12 hours later I was in South America talking to Eva Peron. When we get to heaven, we’ll have a track meet, And everybody will be young and strong.” Godspeed, Boo. We’re cheering for you.

Print Friendly

October 11, 2012

14 Responses

  1. Larry Jessee - October 11, 2012

    Sad, Sad news. I first met Boo in 1972 and he was a great help to me , we met again in Buffalo at the Worlds in 1995, at 75, he had a great charisma about him. A great vaulter, great guy, and a real gentleman!

  2. Bill Daprano - October 12, 2012

    Boo was a great guy, a great athlete and truly a legend. He had many talents including art work that went beyond amateur.I hope I meet you up there Boo for another Pentathlon.

  3. Bob Cahners - October 12, 2012

    Very sad and for me deeply nostalgic. I met Boo in 1959 when he was trying to recruit me for the UPenn track team. He brought me to Philly and had me out at Franklin Field throwing the discus in slacks and street shoes. Don’t know how but almost hit a PR. The only reason I decided against Penn was at the time it didn’t have an indoor track. I ran into him several times since then and will always remember his infectious humor and bright personality.

  4. Peter Taylor - October 12, 2012

    Boo was a piece of work. In the late 1970s I went to a combined meet at Philadelphia’s Convention Hall (the Civic Center). As I recall, it was junior college athletes plus masters. Boo, of course, handled ALL of the junior college athletes in the pole vault.

    An Olympian, a Masters Hall of Famer, Boo could do it all. He even gave me advice about running. One of a kind.

  5. tb - October 12, 2012

    I can’t help thinking that his picture is the inspiration for “The Most Interesting Man In The World.”

  6. John Altendorf - October 12, 2012

    I never had the pleasure of meeting Boo but I sure was aware he had been down this masters pole vaulting road. Everywhere I looked when I got started vaulting 10 years ago I would see his name in the record books. He obviously succeeded on much bigger stages than masters athletics. My thoughts are with his family.

  7. al cestero - October 13, 2012

    as a lover and student of this sport, i have an older masters rankings book 1980 given to me by the younger brother ( 85 ) of
    world ranked polevaulter dr. ganslen . (who i believe still holds the PV record at columbia university…set in the late ’30s ) in it are records…and mostly boo morcom…i never met him, but i feel as if i know him….he was “the real deal ” may he never rest and keep jumping …!!!

  8. Ed Oleata - October 17, 2012

    I first met Boo Morcom In 1982 when I was 43 and he was 60 at the USATF decathlon championship. Between then and 1995 met him 8-10 more times at the USA decathlon championships, which he always won, or the World Championships, which he usually also won. Back in the 50’s he was the best LJ, HJ amd PVCer of all time. He was noted as a fierce competitor. In 1995 when he was 74 he finished 2nd in the world vault. He had been nursing a bad hamstring for about 3 years. He said, “Wait until next year. I’ll beat them all.” Unfortunately, I never saw him again and have missed him. I remember one story the first time I met him when he was 60. He’d stomp around the track during the decathlon and if anyone tried to talk to him he’d say, “Don’t talk to me now. I’m competing!”
    After he got to know me we’d have lots of conversations about many things. He was a man of many talents and experiences. I loved the old dude.

  9. Steve Morris - October 24, 2012

    I met Boo 15-20 yrs ago at a summer all-comer Track Meet at Santa Monica City College. The first thing he asked me was “Is Bob Richards going to be here?” I said “I don’t think so, why?” and he answered back, “Because I want to kick his ass!” Wow! He was in his late 60’s at the time and still had “fire” in his belly!

    We talked about the old days. He told me he use to go down to the carpet mills and pick out his bamboo pole. The carpets would be rolled up with a bamboo pole in the middle. He would then wrap the pole from top to bottom with tape. He competed in the Olympics for the USA(London)but had a “BAD” day and didn’t medal.

    Stiff pole, landed in sawdust or sand, dirt runway, no drugs, jumped over 14 feet– OK boys and girls let’s see you top Boo!

    Steve Morris

  10. Steve Holmes - March 16, 2013

    Boo Morcom was an inspiration for me. He was 16 years older but often would equal or surpass my results. At age 60 I placed 2nd in the National Masters Championships Pentathlon at Occidental College. Boo broke the Worlds Record for the 75-79ers and would have beaten me in my group. Can you imagine pole vaulting 12’6″ when he was 67 years old? We both live in New Hampshire and we got together several times competing and coaching youth in track and field. He coached at Kearsarge Regional Middle School well into the 21st century.
    It was an honor to know him and call him my friend.
    Steve Holmes

  11. Andrew J Richter - April 20, 2014

    Boo Morcom was the greatest finder of all times and a great friend . He will be miss by many .

  12. Don Boggis - July 6, 2014

    ••• Your comment is awaiting moderation •••
    I first met Boo Morcom in the early 1980′s, where else but at the pole vault competition at the New England’s. He was so friendly and easy to talk to. Little did I know that this was the start of a valued friendship. We shared many times as coaches, and as competitors on the Master’s Track and Field Circuit over the years; great times that I will never forget.Boo was a fine coach, but a better athlete, a fierce competitor,and as mentally tough as they come. If you loved track and field, you loved it more when you were around Boo. He was a good friend and I miss him. I am also grateful to him for all good times and the memories. Thanks, Boo.

    Don Boggis

  13. Scott Proulx - January 14, 2015

    Even in his passing, “BOO” is still mentoring. I was fortunate to have known and competed in pole vault against this man in the Summers of 1985/1986. I was 17/18, Boo was 64/65. We competed in Manchester, NH Summer Track series.(weekly summer co-ed event) Some weeks, Boo at age 64 and 65 was able to say he defeated the current NH High School State Champ. He and I use to poke fun at each other on who was going home that week with the 1st place blue ribbon. I recently learned a few things about this great individual that I didn’t know before. I always knew “Boo” was a great athlete, but he was an even greater human being. “Boo”, it was an Honor Sir to have known you.

  14. Nicole Bembridge - July 12, 2017

    I was blessed to have Boo as my high school track coach & then life long friend (1993- until his passing). I met him on the first day of track “try outs” and he said, “run to that line and jump onto the mat”. I did what he said except I landed on the floor after jumping over it! All of the sudden this old guy was yelling, “Woohoo! Don’t land on the floor! Have you done this before?!” I hadn’t, that was my first try ever at the LJ. He then said, “You are my next Blue Diamond!”
    He was pivotal in my life as I did not have a great home life. He assured me I’d get to the games, at least the trials of I wanted it bad enough. Even though I gave it up after high school he always said I had had the most natural talent and I’d always be his Blue Diamond. He was a mentor, a coach, a cool cat, and full of amazing life lessons! I shudder to think where my life could have gone if not for him. He believed in me when I had no one else! Now that I’m competing in Masters he is more alive in my memory than ever! I hope to have even 1/2 the impact on people one day!

Leave a Reply