Lester 'Les' Steers
Steers, circa 1940
Personal details
Born(1917-06-16)June 16, 1917
Rohnerville, California
DiedJanuary 23, 2003(2003-01-23) (aged 85)
Richland, Washington

Lester Steers (June 16, 1917 – January 23, 2003) was an American track and field high jumper. In 1941 he broke the world record for the high-jump three times. His last record stood for 12 years.[1]

Track career

Steers attended Palo Alto High School, winning the CIF California State Meet three years in a row from 1935-7[2] and San Mateo Junior College before attending the University of Oregon in 1941, competing for the 'Ducks' in the year of his greatest triumphs.[3]

Steers was a great all-round athlete who competed at the javelin, shot put and high-hurdles for his college athletics team as well as the high jump giving him the aspiration of competing as a decathlete.[4]

It was, however, as a high-jumper that he achieved his greatest success. He was NCAA (United States collegiate) champion (1941))[5] , 3 times AAU (United States national) champion (1939–41)[6] , and a gold medalist at the World University Games in 1939 (where he also won silver in the javelin and bronze in the pentathlon).[4]

As a jumper, Steers used the 'Belly Roll', a variation of the 'Western Roll'.[4]

Later life

Steers remained in Oregon reportedly working as a salesman.[7]

He died in 2003, a resident of Richland Washington.[8]

World records

Steers achieved the following world records during his athletics career:[9]

Note: only the third was ratified by the sports' governing body, the IAAF.

Steers is also reported to have cleared 7 feet 1/2 inch in an exhibition jump in Eugene on 27 February 1941.[11] The first official clearance of 7 feet was 15 years later by Charles Dumas.

Accolades and awards

In 1974, Steers was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.[1]

In 1992, Steers was inducted into the University of Oregon Hall of Fame.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Les Steers". USA Track and Field. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "California State Meet Results - 1915 to present".
  3. ^ "Les Steers, World Champion High-Jumper, to Attend Oregon". Eugene Register-Guard. September 23, 1940. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Steers, Les". Oregon Stars. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  5. ^ "All-time NCAA Men's Results" (PDF). Track and Field News.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "A History Of The Results Of The National Track & Field Championships Of The USA From 1876 Through 2014". Track and Field News. Archived from the original on 2015-03-16. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  7. ^ "Former World Record High Jumper Les Steers Passes Away". PAC-12 School Sites. January 30, 2003. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  8. ^ "Lester Leroy Steers". www.memorialobituaries.com. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  9. ^ Progression of IAAF World Records 2011 Edition, Editor Imre Matrahazi, IAAF Athletics, p 523.
  10. ^ "Oregon Track Star Sets High-Jump World Record at 6 Ft. 10 25/32 In". Life Magazine. May 26, 1941. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  11. ^ Progression of IAAF World Records 2011 Edition, Editor Imre Matrahazi, IAAF Athletics, p 152.
  12. ^ "Les Steers". University of Oregon. Archived from the original on April 15, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
Records Preceded by Mel Walker Men's High Jump World Record Holder 1941-06-11 — 1953-06-27 Succeeded by Walt Davis