Sergej (also spelled Sergey) Nazarovich Bubka is a retired Ukrainian pole-vaulter. He is considered to be one of the best pole-vaulters and has been repeatedly voted as the world’s best athlete. He was a competitor for the Soviet Union until its eventual collapse in 1991.
He has won 1 Olympic gold medal and several gold medals for World Championships and World Indoor Championships. He is also notable because all of the major medals he acquired in his career were all gold. He accumulated 12 major gold medals in all. In the World Chapionships and the World Indoor Championships, he represented the Soviet Union until 1991 and became an athlete for Ukraine in later events.
It is predicted that Bubka would have done better in the Olympics had the Soviet Union chosen not to Boycott the games. He only made one showing and that was in the 1988 Seoul Games. The rest of his attempts were either foiled by non-qualification or injury. When the USSR boycotted the 1984 games, Bubka vaulted a full 12 cm higher than the Olympic gold winner that year.
He is also known for having broken the world record 35 times and most of them his own. It is speculated that the true pole-vaulting prowess of Bubka has never been explored as the athlete chose to clear only 1 cm of his previous record at every attempt. This is said to have been because he was offered large prices to beat previous records and he would not attempt a record jump without a lucrative offer.
Bubka was named the Soviet Union’s Sportsman of the Year from 1984 to 1986. He currently holds the position of National Olympic Council president in Ukraine. He is also a member of the IOC.