News24 Jun 2012

Hall of Fame Profile – Sergey Bubka (Soviet Union / Ukraine)


IAAF Hall of Fame - Sergey Bubka (UKR) (© Getty Images)

There are few that would argue that Sergey Bubka is not the greatest pole vaulter ever.

Starting with a surprise victory as a 19-year-old at the inaugural IAAF World Championships in 1983, Bubka went on to triumph on the next five occasions. No other athlete has ever won six gold medals in the same individual discipline.

Bubka also set 35 World records in his event. He broke the outdoor World record 17 times and the indoor World record on 18 occasions.

He was the first man to clear the historic and still incredibly elusive height of 6.00m, doing so in Paris on 13 June, 1985, and he still holds both the outdoor and indoor World records.

He cleared 6.14m outdoors on 31 July 1994 in Sestriere, Italy, but that is inferior to his indoor mark of 6.15m which he cleared just over a year earlier in his home city of Donetsk.

Despite his dominance of pole vaulting during the 1980s and 90s, he was fated only to celebrate only one Olympic victory, which came in 1988.

The Soviet boycott of the 1984 Olympics, ill-judged tactics in 1992 and untimely injuries in 1996 and 2000 meant that the Seoul gold is the only Olympic medal in his phenomenal career, which also included World Indoor Championships and European Athletics Championships titles.

Bubka has remained extensively involved with sport since his retirement in 2000.

He is the President of his country's National Olympic Committee and is a member of the International Olympic Committee as well as being an IAAF Vice-President.
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