The Times West Virginian


January 8, 2013

Lofty heights

Dave Tork briefly holds world pole vault record

FAIRMONT — The place was Walnut, Calif., and the date was April 28, 1962.

That was when Dave Tork, a pole vaulter from Fairmont, established a new world pole vault record.

Pole vaulting has never been a major sport for many Marion County athletes, and for most of them, the high school track and field team was the last time they have taken out the old equipment and tried their luck with it.

Tork, however, has dedicated many years of his life to the sport, becoming the world champion in April 1962.

That was a period when pole vaulting was a hot topic in the United States and the record was broken a number of times during that time. And April 28 was Tork’s time to get his name atop the record books — even if it didn’t last more than a few weeks.

His record vault was good enough to earn Dave Tork a berth in the Marion County Sports Hall of Fame.


When a young Dave Tork was a sophomore at Fairmont Senior High School, his father, Patsy Tork, thought he needed to become more serious about his school work, so his parents arranged for him to spend that year at a prep school in Pennsylvania.

And that’s where Tork learned about pole vaulting. One might say it changed his life.

That was also when he decided he would set his goals high, and that’s when he made up his mind that some day in the future, he would become a world champion in the sport.

That was quite a lofty goal for a young lad just learning the sport.


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