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Sitting on his mother’s lap, Hisaki Kurosawa was among the anxious spectators watching the men’s pole vault finals at Tokyo’s National Stadium during the 1964 Summer Olympics.

That competition turned out to be one for the history books. Kicking off at 1 p.m. on Oct. 17, the event stretched late into the night as the fiberglass bar inched higher and temperatures steadily dropped. The showdown arrived at around 10 p.m., when American world record holder Fred Hansen cleared 5.1 meters and beat German rival Wolfgang Reinhardt to claim the gold medal. This was, and still is, the longest pole vault final on record.

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