Ex-Trojan Charles Dumas, World's First 7-Foot High Jumper, Dies
Jan. 5, 2004
USC Olympic gold medalist Charles Dumas, the first human to high jump 7 feet, died on Monday (Jan. 5) of cancer in Los Angeles. He was 66.
Services are pending.
Dumas accomplished his historic feat when he cleared 7-0 ï¿½ in the high jump as a Compton (Calif.) College athlete at the 1956 Olympic Trials in the Coliseum. He went on to win the gold medal in that event at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.
He then enrolled at USC, where he lettered for 3 seasons (1958-60) and helped Troy to the 1958 NCAA title (the Trojans placed second in 1960). He captained the 1960 squad and also participated in the 1960 Rome Olympics, finishing sixth while hampered by a knee injury. From 1955 to 1959, he was ranked among the Top 3 in the world in the high jump (twice being No. 1).
He was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1990 and the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.
After retiring from competition, Dumas taught and coached at the high school level in Los Angeles.
He is survived by his son, Kyle, and daughter, Keasha, as well as three brothers and two sisters.