Sergey Bubka

Sergey Bubka bigraphy, stories - Ukrainian pole vaulter

Sergey Bubka : biography

4 December 1963 –

Serhiy Nazarovych Bubka ( born 4 December 1963) is a retired Ukrainian pole vaulter. He represented the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991, was repeatedly voted the world’s best athlete, and in 2012 was of one of 24 athletes inducted as inaugural members of the International Association of Athletics Federations Hall of Fame.

Bubka won six consecutive IAAF World Championships, an Olympics gold and broke the world record for men’s pole vaulting 35 times (17 outdoor and 18 indoor records). He was the first to clear 6.0 metres and the only (as of July 2012) to clear 6.10 metres (20 ft). (Indoor) (Outdoor)

He holds the current outdoor world record of 6.14 metres, (20 feet 1 inches), set on 31 July 1994 in Sestriere, Italy and the current indoor world record of 6.15 meters, set on 21 February 1993 in Donetsk, Ukraine.

Awards and positions held

  • Bubka won the Prince of Asturias Award in Sports in 1991
  • Bubka was awarded best sportsman of the Soviet Union for three years in a row from 1984 to 1986
  • Bubka was voted Sportsman of the Year for 1997 by the influential newspaper L’Équipe
  • Bubka was honored as the best pole vaulter of the last half century by Track & Field News
  • Bubka was designated as an IAAF council member in 2001. In 2011, he was elected to a 4-year term as a Vice-President of the organization.
  • He is currently serving as the president of National Olympic Committee of Ukraine and is an IOC member
  • Bubka was designated UNESCO Champion for Sport in 2003
  • In 2005 he received the Panathlon International Flambeau d’Or for his contribution to the development and promotion of sports.
  • From 2002 to 2006, he was a member of the Ukrainian Parliament for For United Ukraine (Regions of Ukraine faction) and its committee on questions of youth policy, physical culture, sport and tourism, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine[ Ukrainian pole vault star running in domestic parliamentary elections], Kyiv Post (30 January 2002)
  • Completed his term in IOC athletes commission in August 2008

Bubka is today a member of the ‘Champions for Peace’ club, a group of 54 famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization.

Candidacy for IOC President

On 28 May 2013, Sergey Bubka confirmed that he would run for President of the International Olympic Committee. A new IOC President will be elected at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires in 10 September 2013.


Bubka possessed great strength, speed and gymnastic abilities. His average speed during pole vaulting approach was reported as 35.7 km/h (9.9 m/s, 22.2 mph). He gripped the pole higher than most vaulters to get extra leverage, though Bubka himself played down the effect of grip alone. Bubka’s strength meant that he could use a pole that was relatively heavy for his weight, thereby generating more recoil force. The statue erected in his image in Donetsk is using an incorrect (and impossible) vaulting-grip on the pole.

His development and mastery of the Petrov/Bubka technical model is also considered as a key to his success. A technical model is a sequence of positions and pressures that describe the method and form of a style of pole vaulting. The Petrov/Bubka model is considered superior to many others today because it allows the vaulter to continuously put energy into the pole while rising towards the bar. Most conventional models focus on creating maximum bend in the pole before leaving the ground, by planting the pole heavily on the landing pad. The Petrov/Bubka model follows from the technique used by Kjell Isaksson,Video from the world record at 5.59m set at El Paso, 23 May 1972 at or both retrieved on 14 April 2013Over and over again. Sports Illustrated report of the World record at 5.54m set at Los Angeles, April 1972, with interview and discussion of Isaksson’s technique at both retrieved on 14 April 2013 which concentrates on driving the pole up, rather than bending it while planting it on the landing pad, combined with high running speed. While the traditional models depended on the recoil by bending the pole, the Petrov/Bubka model may exploit the recoil of the pole and exert more energy on the pole during the swinging action.