kids encyclopedia robot

Sergey Bubka facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Sergey Bubka
Sergey Bubka 2013.jpg
Bubka in 2013
Personal information
Native name Сергій Назарович Бубка
Full name Serhiy Nazarovych Bubka
Nationality Ukrainian
Born (1963-12-04) 4 December 1963 (age 60)
Luhansk, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Education PhD in pedagogy, physical culture
Alma mater Ukrainian Academy of Pedagogical Science, Kyiv State Institute of Physical Culture
Years active 1981–2001
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 80 kg (176 lb)
Chair of the NOC of Ukraine
In office
23 June 2005 – 17 November 2022
Preceded by Viktor Yanukovych
Succeeded by Vadym Gutzeit
Country  Soviet Union (1981–1991)
 Ukraine (1991–2001)
Sport Track and field
Event(s) Pole vault
Turned pro 1981
Coached by Vitaly Petrov (first coach)
Retired 2001
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing the  Soviet Union
Olympic Games
Gold 1988 Seoul Pole vault
World Championships
Representing the  Soviet Union
Gold 1983 Helsinki Pole vault
Gold 1987 Rome Pole vault
Gold 1991 Tokyo Pole vault
Representing  Ukraine
Gold 1993 Stuttgart Pole vault
Gold 1995 Gothenburg Pole vault
Gold 1997 Athens Pole vault
World Indoor Championships
Representing the  Soviet Union
Gold 1985 Paris Pole vault
Gold 1987 Indianapolis Pole vault
Gold 1991 Sevilla Pole vault
Representing  Ukraine
Gold 1995 Barcelona Pole vault
European Championships
Representing the  Soviet Union
Gold 1986 Stuttgart Pole vault
European Indoor Championships
Representing the  Soviet Union
Gold 1985 Athens Pole vault
Goodwill Games
Representing the  Soviet Union
Gold 1986 Moscow Pole vault
Updated on 8 September 2012.

Sergey Nazarovych Bubka (Ukrainian: Сергій Назарович Бубка; Serhiy Nazarovych Bubka; born 4 December 1963) is a Ukrainian former pole vaulter. He represented the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. Bubka was twice named Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News, and in 2012 was 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 Olympic gold medal and broke the world record for men's pole vault 35 times. He was the first pole vaulter to clear 6.0 metres and 6.10 metres.

He held the indoor world record of 6.15 metres, set on 21 February 1993 in Donetsk, Ukraine for almost 21 years until France's Renaud Lavillenie cleared 6.16 metres on 15 February 2014 at the same meet in the same arena. He held the outdoor world record at 6.14 metres between 31 July 1994, and 17 September 2020 when Sweden's Armand Duplantis cleared 6.15 metres, though since adopting rule 260.18a in 2000 the IAAF regards the indoor record as the official "world record".

Bubka is Senior Vice President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), serving since 2007, and President of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, serving from 2005 to November 2022. He is also an Honorary Member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), having been involved since 1996. His older brother, Vasiliy Bubka, was also a medal-winning pole vaulter.


Born in Luhansk, Sergey Nazarovych Bubka was a track-and-field athlete in the 100-meter dash and the long jump, but became a world-class champion only when he turned to the pole vault. In 1983, virtually unknown internationally, he won the world championship in Helsinki, Finland, and the following year set his first world record, clearing 5.85m (19 ft 2 in). Until the dissolution of the USSR in late 1991, Bubka competed for Soviet teams. The Soviet sports system rewarded athletes for setting new world records, and he became noted for establishing new records by slim amounts, sometimes as little as a centimeter higher. This allowed him to collect frequent bonus payments and made Bubka an attraction at track-and-field meets. By 1992, he was no longer bound to the Soviet system, and signed a contract with Nike that rewarded each world record performance with special bonuses of $40,000.

He has a son who was a professional tennis player, whose name is Sergei.

From 2002 to 2006 Bubka was a member of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada with the Party of Regions group and until 2014 an advisor to Viktor Yanukovych. He was on the youth policy, physical culture, sport and tourism committee while a MVR.

On 5 March 2022 Bubka professed his love for his homeland after the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, and declared: "Ukraine will win".

Sporting curriculum vitae

Pole vault career

Sergey Bubka started competing on the international athletics scene in 1981 when he participated in the European Junior Championship finishing seventh. But the 1983 World Championship held in Helsinki was his actual entry point to the world athletics, where a relatively unknown Bubka snatched the gold, clearing 5.70 metres (18 feet 8 inches). The years that followed witnessed the unparalleled dominance of Bubka, with him setting new records and standards in pole vaulting.

He set his first world record of 5.85m on 26 May 1984 which he improved to 5.88m a week later, and then to 5.90m a month later. He cleared 6.00 metres (19 feet 8 inches) for the first time on 13 July 1985 in Paris. This height had long been considered unattainable. With virtually no challengers, Bubka improved his own record over the next 10 years until he reached his career best and the then world record of 6.14 m (20 feet 134 inches) in 1994. He primarily vaulted on UCS Spirit poles throughout his later career.

He became the first athlete ever to jump over 6.10 metres, in San Sebastián, Spain in 1991. Until January 2014, no other athlete on earth had cleared 6.07, indoors or outdoors. In 1994, he achieved his personal record with a vault of 6.14 meters, long after many commentators assumed the great sportsman was retired. Bubka increased the world record by 21 centimetres (8 inches) in the period from 1984 to 1994, more than other pole vaulters had achieved in the previous 12 years. He cleared 6.00 meters or better on 45 occasions. As of June 2015, 6 meters had been cleared by all athletes worldwide exactly 100 times.

Bubka officially retired from pole vault in 2001 during a ceremony at his Pole Vault Stars meeting in Donetsk.

Olympics curse

Despite his dominance in pole vault, Bubka had a relatively poor record in the Olympic Games. The first Olympics after Bubka's introduction to the international athletics was held in 1984 and was boycotted by the USSR along with the majority of other Eastern Bloc countries. Two months before the Games he vaulted 12 cm higher than the eventual Olympic gold medal winner Pierre Quinon. In 1988 Bubka competed in the Seoul Olympics and won his only Olympic gold medal clearing 5.90 m. In 1992 he failed to clear in his first three attempts (5.70, 5.70, 5.75 m) and was out of the Barcelona Olympics. At the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 a heel injury caused him to withdraw from the competition without any attempts. In 2000 at the Sydney Olympics he was eliminated from the final after three unsuccessful attempts at 5.70 m.

IAAF World championships

Bubka won the pole vault event in six consecutive IAAF World Championships in Athletics in the period from 1983 to 1997:

Year Competition Venue Position Winning height
1983 World Championships Helsinki 1st 5.70 m (18 ft 8+38 in)
1987 World Championships Rome 1st 5.85 m (19 ft 2+516 in)
1991 World Championships Tokyo 1st 5.95 m (19 ft 6+516 in)
1993 World Championships Stuttgart 1st 6.00 m (19 ft 8+316 in)
1995 World Championships Gothenburg 1st 5.92 m (19 ft 5+18 in)
1997 World Championships Athens 1st 6.01 m (19 ft 8+58 in)

World record progression

Bubka broke the world record for men's pole vault 35 times during his career. He broke the outdoor world record 17 times and the indoor world record 18 times. Bubka lost his outdoor world record only once in his illustrious career. After Thierry Vigneron, of France, broke his record on 31 August 1984 at the Golden Gala international track meet in Rome, Bubka subsequently reclaimed the record on his next attempt on the same runway, just minutes later.

Height Date Place
6.14 m (20 ft 1+1116 in) 31 July 1994 Sestriere
6.13 m (20 ft 1+516 in) 19 September 1992 Tokyo
6.12 m (20 ft +78 in) 30 August 1992 Padua
6.11 m (20 ft +58 in) 13 June 1992 Dijon
6.10 m (20 ft +316 in) 5 August 1991 Malmö
6.09 m (19 ft 11+1316 in) 8 July 1991 Formia
6.08 m (19 ft 11+38 in) 9 June 1991 Moscow
6.07 m (19 ft 11 in) 6 May 1991 Shizuoka
6.06 m (19 ft 10+58 in) 10 July 1988 Nice
6.05 m (19 ft 10+316 in) 9 June 1988 Bratislava
6.03 m (19 ft 9+38 in) 23 June 1987 Prague
6.01 m (19 ft 8+58 in) 8 June 1986 Moscow
6.00 m (19 ft 8+316 in) 13 June 1985 Paris
5.94 m (19 ft 5+78 in) 31 August 1984 Rome
5.90 m (19 ft 4+516 in) 13 July 1984 London
5.88 m (19 ft 3+12 in) 2 June 1984 Paris
5.85 m (19 ft 2+516 in) 26 May 1984 Bratislava
Height Date Place
6.15 m (20 ft 2+18 in) 21 February 1993 Donetsk
6.14 m (20 ft 1+1116 in) 13 February 1993 Lievin
6.13 m (20 ft 1+516 in) 22 February 1992 Berlin
6.12 m (20 ft +78 in) 23 March 1991 Grenoble
6.11 m (20 ft +58 in) 19 March 1991 Donetsk
6.10 m (20 ft +316 in) 15 March 1991 San Sebastián
6.08 m (19 ft 11+38 in) 9 February 1991 Volgograd
6.05 m (19 ft 10+316 in) 17 March 1990 Donetsk
6.03 m (19 ft 9+38 in) 11 February 1989 Osaka
5.97 m (19 ft 7 in) 17 March 1987 Turin
5.96 m (19 ft 6+58 in) 15 January 1987 Osaka
5.95 m (19 ft 6+516 in) 28 February 1986 New York City
5.94 m (19 ft 5+78 in) 21 February 1986 Inglewood
5.92 m (19 ft 5+18 in) 8 February 1986 Moscow
5.87 m (19 ft 3+18 in) 15 January 1986 Osaka
5.83 m (19 ft 1+12 in) 10 February 1984 Inglewood
5.82 m (19 ft 1+18 in) 1 February 1984 Milan
5.81 m (19 ft +1116 in) 15 January 1984 Vilnius


РСК Олимпийский (008)
Sergey Bubka statue, Donetsk

Bubka possessed great strength, speed and gymnastic abilities. He gripped the pole higher than most vaulters to get extra leverage, though Bubka himself played down the effect of grip alone.

His development and mastery of the Petrov/Bubka technical model is also considered a key to his success. (A technical model is a sequence of movements, positions and pressures which describe the method and style form of track and field events, including 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 in the pole vault box. The Petrov/Bubka model follows the technique used by Kjell Isaksson, 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.

Awards and sporting positions held

  • Bubka won the Prince of Asturias Award in Sports in 1991
  • Bubka was awarded the 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 entered in FICTS Hall of Fame and was awarded with Excellence Guirlande d'Honneur in 2001.
  • Bubka was designated an IAAF council member in 2001. In 2011, he was elected a vice-president of the organization for a four-year term.
  • 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 sport.
  • Bubka won the Marca Leyenda in 2005
  • He was awarded the Hero of Ukraine civilian award by President Leonid Kuchma on 4 February 2001
  • Completed his term in IOC athletes commission in August 2008

Today Bubka is a member of the 'Champions for Peace' club, a group of more than 90 famous elite created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organization placed under the High Patronage of H.S.H Prince Albert II. This group of top level champions, wish to make sport a tool for dialogue and social cohesion.


Bubka has been involved with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) since 2001 and has served as a vice president since 2007. During this time, he remained on the Athletes' Commission (2001–2011) and is also a Council Member for ASOIF, the Association for Summer Olympic International Federations. Bubka commented: "I have been working at the IAAF for a long time and my work is not limited to one area. The good of athletics is something deep in my heart." Bubka has been IAAF Council Member (2001-), IAAF senior vice-president (2007–2011), vice-president (2011-), IAAF Development Commission deputy chairman (2007–2011), then chairman (2011-), IAAF Athletes Commission member (2001–2011) and IAAF Competition Commission member (2003-). He was also a Coordination Commission chairman of IAAF World Championships in Daegu 2011 and Moscow 2013.

National Olympic Committee

As President of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine he was instated on 23 June 2005, he has transformed the organisation into one of the most progressive in the world. It has staff based in all of the nation's 27 regions with each taking responsibility for delivering an array of programmes designed to bring youngsters into sport, realise the potential of the most able and promote the Olympic Movement and its values. A National Olympic Day, the Olympic Stork which provides Olympic-themed education to more than 250,000 school classes across the country, televised annual awards and an Olympic Academy have all been established under Bubka's reign. "NOCs must do more than select and send teams to Olympic Games", says Bubka. "They are at the forefront of efforts to educate young people and help them become involved in sport and adopt a healthy lifestyle. To do that we need to work together globally because if we don't we risk losing the younger generation."

On 17 November 2022, Vadym Gutzeit was elected the new President of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, with 84% of the vote.

International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Sergey Bubka first got involved with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1996 when he was elected as a Member of the Athletes' Commission, providing input into the governance of sport from the perspective of an active athlete. Almost 20 years later he is still involved as an Honorary Member. "I knew that I wanted to be involved in running sport and, in particular to be involved in the Olympic Movement", he said. He became an IOC Member in 1999 and has been involved in a wide range of Commissions, including Chairman of the Evaluation and then the Coordination Commissions for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010. On 28 May 2013 Sergey Bubka announced that he would run for President of the International Olympic Committee. At the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires he lost the vote to Thomas Bach.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Serguéi Bubka para niños

  • 6 metres club
kids search engine
Sergey Bubka Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.