Series28 Oct 2013

Work, rest and play – Bogdan Bondarenko


Bogdan Bondarenko celebrates his victory at the 2013 IAAF World Championships (© Getty Images)

We get an insight into the life of world high jump champion Bogdan Bondarenko who answers our work, rest and play questions.


What is your favourite training session?

Bogdan Bondarenko: I like the play training sessions, especially volleyball. I enjoy the thrill of being active and making many jumps. For me, volleyball is the perfect warm up and is a great way of strengthening my knees.

What is your least favourite training session?

BB: I don’t like monotonous training sessions like circuit training with multiple repetitions, especially if they are repeated day after day.

Who is your favourite training partner?

BB: I have trained alone for five years and I don't want to change this.

What is your favourite music to train to?

BB: I cannot name a favourite singer or band but I prefer listening to Russian or Ukrainian performers as I like to understand the lyrics and make sense of the songs. The style of music is anything from rock to rap.

What is the worst thing about being an athlete?

BB: It’s time shortage. Sometimes I seem to spend all my time at the stadium while my peers make time for many other forms of entertainment. I would obviously like to spend more time with my friends. Yet it is not so bad, as when I do spend time with them I value every minute.


What is your favourite music to chill to?

BB: Calm and tuneful melodies without lyrics, but not classical music or opera.

Describe your perfect day without training.

BB: First of all, the day should not start any earlier than 1pm! Then I should have no commitments. I do not like days scheduled to the minute. What can be better than a day without plans? One more thing, it would involve no sports with the possible exception of darts!

What is your favourite stress reliever?

BB: It is to drive fast in my car. Cars are my passion.

If you could pick any other athlete in the world to relax with, who would it be and why?

BB: I would definitely not pick an athlete dependent on their sporting achievement. It would be the athlete who could show me an alternative, unusual but acceptable way for an athlete to relax.

Where is your favourite place to relax?

BB: The greatest relaxation I have ever enjoyed was in a Russian baths, which included a good massage using a special broom made from birch twigs. I also enjoyed the very merry company there.


What was your very first car?

BB: I was a 15-year-old when I drove my first car. It was father’s old Volga – the big Russian car. I didn’t even have enough power to turn the wheel and couldn’t understand how to steer it. Four years later I bought a Toyota Camry. It was my first personal car. 

What is the most expensive car you've ever bought?

BB: In a funny way, my first car was the most expensive.

Have you ever regretted buying a car?

BB: My last purchase. I bought a Mazda 626 in January 2013 and it needed to be repaired and repainted. I had no money for the expensive service, so I asked an acquaintance to help. I only got my car back in the middle of October, so there are a lot of things which I have to touch up to be able to drive it again.

If you were a car what would you be?

BB: I must be a car that looks simple, but it must also be fast and nimble. Most likely a BMW 3 from the M series.

Do you prefer driving an automatic or a manual?

BB: Only a manual. I need to control any situation that arises on the road. Moreover, driving an automatic makes me sleepy and I can lose my vigilance.

What would be your dream car to buy?

BB: Oh, no! I cannot choose only one car. Let it be a full garage of my dreams. So I would start with a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport 2010 model to be the fastest car on the road. Then the Mercedes G class AMG with air suspension. I would drive this car to go fishing. My next one would be a 1969 Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet to feel the full power of one of the best muscle cars of the last 70 years. Another one is 6l capacity cabriolet Mercedes SL to feel a light freshness during a hot summer day. And finally a BMW X6M.

Which athlete has the coolest car?

BB: I definitely want to be this athlete! 

Steve Landells for the IAAF