Richards, whose nickname is "the vaulting Vicar " was ( jumping Vicar ), lived in California when he qualified in Helsinki in the pole vault for the 1952 Olympic Games. Just four years earlier, was still a student, he had won at the Olympic Games in London in 1948 the bronze medal. In Helsinki, there were 4.55 meters height even skipped the gold medal. He repeated four years later at the 1956 Games in Melbourne this success. Richards is now the only pole vaulter, who twice was able to win Olympic gold and the only pole vaulter, who won three Olympic medals in this discipline. In 1956 he also participated in the decathlon in part, but could not intervene in the fight for the medals and finished 13th with 7313 points.
His 1959 book The Heart of a Champion was considered a bestseller in the United States and of coaches and athletes as the " Bible ".
1983 Richards was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the U.S. Olympic participants.
1984 Richards was presidential candidate of the racist populist party with the Holocaust denier Willis Carto, 2010 Richards also supported racist party American Third Position.
- The Heart of a Champion. Revell, Westwood, N. J. 1959; New edition 50th anniversary issue: Revell, Grand Rapids, MI, 2009, ISBN 978-0800732721. The heart of a winner. From the American Helga remote Bacher. Train, Konstanz 1971, ISBN 3-7621-4401- X.