Former Trojan Pole Vaulter Clentzos Passes Away

Sept. 18, 2006

Longtime USC Trojan and Greek Olympian Peter Clentzos passed away last week at the age of 97. Clentzos had been the oldest living Greek and USC Olympian.

Clentzos, who was a three-year letterman in pole vault on the USC track in field team (1930-32), represented Greece at the 1932 Olympics held at the Los Angeles Coliseum and placed seventh. He maintained closely tied to the Olympics through the years, working to try and secure the 1996 Olympic bid for Greece, serving as deputy manager of track and field officials at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, carried the Olympic Torch in the torch relay in 2004 at the age of 95 and then attended the games in Athens as an invited guest of the Greek government.

He remained close to his alma mater USC as a member of the Trojan Coaches Club and the Trojan Track Alumni Club. While at USC, he also was a member of the USC freshman football team and played on the Spartan squad.

Clentzos was an inductee into the USA Track and Field Pole Vault Hall of Fame and recipient of the prestigious USA Track and Field President's Award, as well as being the Greek national pole vault record holder for a number of years.

He was a firm believer in weight training and exercise, a practice he continue up until his last days. He also was widely credited with coining the phrase 'Hubba, hubba!'

Clentzos was honored by numerous organizations for his dedication and contributions as an athlete, teacher, coach and administrator. He served many years on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Health and as the National Director of Athletics for the Order of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.

Born in Oakland to parents that had migrated from Greece, Clentzos attended high school in San Luis Obispo. After attending USC, he served for a time in the Army, then was a high school administrator and coach at Barstow Union High, Roosevelt High, Narbonne High and Franklin High. He retired from Franklin in 1974.

Clentzos lived in Pasadena and was active with the Pasadena Senior Center and the formation of the Senior Olympics.

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