Arledge, Bob


Beavercreek,Ohio native and 1955 graduate Bob Arledge is the epitome of a lifetime student-athlete. After all, he remains competing more than 60 years after his time in college.


Had it not been for the recruiting efforts of fellow Hall of Famers Harry Ewing and Dick West, along with a few others on staff, Arledge may have spent his entire life working in a glass factory. Nevertheless, he arrived to Westerville in 1951 and proceeded to make an impact in three sports.


Coincidentally enough, Bob’s first year at Otterbein was also the first year that freshman were allowed to compete on the varsity. He earned four varsity letters in track and field while fighting through shin splints, placing top-five at the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Championships twice, and had a prime chance to win as a senior before spiking his calf muscle in warmups and withdrawing. His best height came at 12-feet even as a junior.


Arledge also played two years of football, serving as back-up quarterback during his sophomore year until a mandible fracture put him on the sidelines and an oral surgeon did not clear his return. Seeking even more, he decided to pursue swimming and diving even though Otterbein didn’t even have a program.


Coached personally by a former USA Olympic diver, Arledge traveled to the Ohio Wesleyan Natatorium twice a week for the next two months in preparation for the OAC Championships. He eventually scored the first and only points ever by an Otterbein athlete at the event, finishing top-four in both the one and three-meter dives. His efforts placed him ahead of three OWU competitors, which prevented the Bishops from claiming the team title.


Bob majored in biology but always remained passionate about fitness, continuing to study its impact throughout his career as a physical therapist for the United States Air Force. He wasn’t done competing, however, as the fun was just beginning for this natural athlete.


Arledge delivered a remarkable pole vault career, becoming state champion in the Ohio and Kentucky Senior Games for 15 years while elevating himself to the national/world levels. He captured six United States Track and Field national championships (three indoor, three outdoor) in the 70-74, 75-79 and 80-84 age groups with heights anywhere between 6’6” and 7’3”.


Bob also earned a National Senior Games title before heading to the world stage, initially securing a 2017 World Regional Championship in Toronto for the 80-84 age group. He competed against teams from USA, Canada, Central America and the Carribean.


Not stopping there, Arledge then became World Champion in 2018 with a memorable vault of 1.9 meters (6 feet, 2 ¾ inches) for the 85-89 age group in Malaga, Spain.

He and his wife, Gail, have three children and settled at the Otterbein Retirement Community in Lebanon.