PHILADELPHIA - The Penn track and field program lost one of its most extraordinary members with the announcement of the passing of Mamadou Johnson. The 1993 team captain and the only Ivy League athlete to clear 18 feet in the pole vault died on April 29 at the age of 39.
"Mamadou was a treasured part of the Penn track and field family," said men's head coach Robin Martin. "He was larger than life. He emobodied the work ethic and spirit of being a Penn Quaker. This is a big loss for the Penn Athletics community."
Johnson, who served as a team captain during his senior season in 1993, is the only Ivy League athlete to ever clear 18 feet in the pole vault. Johnson's mark of 5.52 meters (18 feet, 1 1/4 inches) was set at the 1993 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships and 19 years later he still remains as the meet, school and league record holder in the event.
Johnson also ranks second all-time at Penn in the indoor pole vault at 5.20 meters (17-0.75 ft.) - the fifth-best mark in Heps history. That was also set in 1993 as Johnson helped the Quakers to the indoor and outdoor Ivy League titles that year.
Johnson is the last Penn man to sweep the indoor and outdoor heptagonal pole vault titles.