January 5, 2004 by

Charles Dumas


Categories: Sports

At the 1956 Olympic Trials in Los Angeles, Charles Dumas took a running start, leaped into the air and hurled his body over a thin bar. Amazingly, he jumped seven feet and one half inch and became the first athlete to ever reach that height during competition.
Dumas followed the record-breaking feat by winning a gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics. Four years later, he placed sixth in the high jump competition at the 1960 Rome Olympics.
An injured knee forced Dumas to retire from the sport, so he became a teacher and a high school track coach. For his high jump accomplishments, he was featured on a stamp in 1979, and inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1990.
Dumas died on Jan. 5 from cancer. He was 66.

4 Responses to Charles Dumas

  1. Ned Cherry

    Centennial Hi was in our H S League. I went to California H S in Whittier. Charles Dumas was 1 year ahead of me. I watched him jump each time we had a track meet with Centennial. At least once when he set the bar at 7′, all the photographers were poised and he just ran under the bar as a joke letting them all flash there cameras. I was a mediocre high jumper and I jumped once against his younger brother who was also a high jumper and who was also outstanding. I went with my father to the Olimpic trial finals in L A in 1956 and saw him jump 7′. It was an amazing accomplishment and he did it in the old fashion way of the barrel roll style. I regret he is no longer with us but will always rember him as a great athlete.

  2. Flores

    I remember Mr. Dumas. He was my driver’s ed teacher at Jordan High (Watts), and honestly…no one took his class seriously. I do remember him talking about his time in the olympics and his gold medal. He let the whole class hold it. When it was my turn, I felt this tinkle down my back. Holding that gold medal felt as if you went back in history. It made me respect Mr. Dumas and for what he had done.
    When I found out that he died, I felt sad. But, I know that he is in a better place, resting.
    Miss you Mr. Dumas.

  3. John Cook

    Charles Dumas was my P.E teacher during the brief time I attended Charles Drew Jr high school in LA I did’nt find out until years later that he was a famous track & field star and the first man to high jump 7 feet I was not aware of his passing until now what i remmber is he was as good a teacher as he was an athlete.

    • Coby Chavis jr.

      MrDumas,work at thomas Jefferson, hi school on 41st hooper los Angeles ca.late 70’s & 80’s he was a cool teacher and very tall.

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