Athletics Athletics

French pole-vault champion kills self


PARIS, France, August 18 – Former Olympic pole-vault champion Pierre Quinon has committed suicide at the age of 49, the French Athletics Federation announced on Thursday.

“The news was confirmed to me by family members,” said the federation’s president Bernard Amsalem.

Quinon’s hour of golden glory came at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, a year after he broke the world record with a leap of 5.82m.

He retired in 1992 and entered the restaurant business in the south of France, and had also been involved in preparations for the 2015 World Masters Athletics in Lyon.

Quinon was part of a golden generation of French pole-vaulters coached by Jean-Claude Perrin that included Thierry Vigneron and he reached the summit when he smashed the world record with 5.82 metres at Cologne in 1982.

That mark lasted just four days before Vigneron went one centimetre higher, but it was Quinon who took gold at the Los Angeles Games ahead of Mike Tully of the United States with Vigneron settling for the bronze.

It was the first time that a Frenchman had won Olympic gold in the pole vault and represented the peak of his career with injuries spoiling his form in later years before he finally retired in 1992.

A police inquiry has been opened into the circumstances of his death