On July 13, 1985, Sergey Bubka of the Soviet Union became the first man to clear the six-meter barrier.
Born in Luhansk, Ukraine, on December 4, 1963, Bubka entered the world of athletics at the 1983 World Championship held in Helsinki, where he took the gold. Since then, he has seen 35 world records and attracted enormous world attention.
The Los Angeles Times wrote about Bubka:
“Bubka is a phenomenal jumper, totally bewildering. He represents the future generation of pole vaulters. He makes us reconsider the long standing perception of human capabilities. If anyone should be so lucky to conquer the six-meter height in the near future, it would be Bubka – contender number one.”
And they were right. In Paris, on the day of the competition, Bubka had the bar raised to exactly six meters. The entire stadium went completely silent as the commentator announced Sergey onto the track. He raised his pole and began to trot down the runway, slowly at first, then faster… Another few seconds passed and the crowd burst into ovation.
Six meters. Done.
The next morning Bubka was in all major newspapers: “sporting sensation of the year,” “a jump into the 21st century.”
Bubka went on to win his only Olympic gold medal in Seoul, South Korea. He became the crowd’s favorite jumper. As soon as he would walk onto the track, he would hear:
“Bubka! Bubka! Bubka!”
Sergey himself sees his six-meter vault as the most significant in his career:
“Recently I happened to be driving around that same place. I stopped the car and took my wife and sons to the stadium and did what I should have done all those years ago: I took a piece from the track’s covering for keepsake.”
Bubka represented the Soviet Union in all major men’s athletics events until 1991. He then represented Ukraine until his retirement in 2001.
No one has managed to outperform Bubka. He currently holds the world record of 6.14 meters outdoor (1994) and 6.15 meters indoor (1993).
Bubka about pole vault:
“I love the pole vault because it is a professor’s sport. One must not only run and jump, but one must think. Which pole to use, which height to jump, which strategy to use. I love it because the results are immediate and the strongest is the winner. Everyone knows it. In everyday life that is difficult to prove.”
Today is a 32-year anniversary of Sergey Bubka’s 6 meter-jump. Our hearty congratulations to the jumper of all times!
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.