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Sergey Bubka: Athletics

Sergey Bubka (born December 4, 1963) is a former Ukrainian world record-setting pole vaulter who won a gold medal during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He represented the Soviet Union until 1991. When he was nine years old, he took up athletics in 1973 in which he started doing sprints and long jumping. By 1974, he switched to pole vaulting. Sergey Bubka first competed internationally as a senior at the 1983 World Championship. In 2001, he retired to embark on a career in sports administration and politics. He became a member of the IOC Athlete’s Commission, became president of the Ukrainian NOC and became a full member of the IOC in 2005.

Greatest Sporting Achievements

Despite Bubka’s dominance, he struggled at the Olympics, only winning one gold medal. He won six gold medals for the World Championship, four gold medals for the World Indoor Championship and two gold medals for the European Championships and Goodwill Games respectively. He also broke the world record for men’s pole vault 35 times, outdoor world record 17 times and indoor world record 18 times and usually only bettering it by just a centimeter.

Why Was He So Good?

Sergey Bubka possessed strength, swiftness and gymnastic skills. He reigned for more than four decades. The Petrov/Bubka technical model is named after him and it is said that his development and mastery of it is one of the keys to his success. He was determined in his sport, breaking his own world records by merely a centimeter higher. "My jump was imperfect, my run-in was too short and my hands were too far back at takeoff. When I manage to iron out these faults, I am sure I can improve."

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There are profiles of past athlete champions from a large range of sports. See also profiles of Olympic athletes and pages about sporting heroes.

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