December 31, 2012
For over three decades, Earl Bell of Jonesboro (Craighead County) was the premier pole vaulter in the United States. As a member of the Arkansas State University (ASU) track team in 1976, he set the world record at 18 7.25. Bell achieved many honors, including twelve NCAA championships, five NCAA records, and many national titles. A three-time Olympian, he won the bronze medal at the 1984 Los Angeles games. In 1991, he founded his own training facility near Jonesboro, Bell Athletics, which in 2004 produced one-half of the U.S. Olympic pole-vaulting team.