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Wheaties: Was It an Illusion?

May 07, 1988

Mention the name Bob Mathias and it seems people automatically think of the guy on the Wheaties box.

That's what Mathias thinks of, too.

"I was on a box. I don't know when it was," Mathias said. "The main guy (on the cover) was (Olympic pole vault winner) Bob Richards. He was a paid spokesperson for 10 or 12 years. During that period they had other people on the box."

Nevertheless, Mathias is missing from the Wheaties archives.

"That's another myth I have to poke a hole in," said Cathy Newton, consumer foods spokesman for General Mills, which makes the breakfast cereal. "We've never been able to find a box" with Mathias' picture on it.

Nevertheless, the folks at General Mills searched their archives one more time, at the request of The Times. Once again, no Bob Mathias.

"I'm pretty sure I was (on the cover) for just a brief time," Mathias said, when advised of the unsuccessful search. "Maybe not the cover, but maybe the side panel. Bob (Richards) got the money and I got the glory, I guess."

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