Bubka is one of the most illustrious sporting figures of our time. He dominated the pole vault for almost two decades, although surprisingly he won just one Olympic gold medal in four attempts, at Seoul in 1988. He was the first man to break the six-metre barrier, in Paris in 1985, and in March 1991 became the first to clear 20 feet (6.10 metres).
He has held the world record of 6.14 metres outdoor since 1994 and 6.15 metres indoor since 1993. He broke the world record 35 times in his career. The Soviet boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics cost Bubka a virtually certain gold medal and, four years later in Seoul, he needed just one valid jump, a competition record of 5.90 metres, to secure his first and only Olympic gold.
At the end of the 1980s, Bubka was anxious to do something for his home city of Donetsk. “I decided to invest in a sports club to help young people. With the system collapsing there was not enough money to bring children to sport. When they finish school, the kids are there on the streets and you have to produce some interest for them. In these cases sport is one of the best things.” The Bubka Sports Club now has 300 youngsters doing athletics training with ten coaches.
After his sports career Sergey Bubka became a sport administrator and politician. He decided to give back to sport and is currently the President of the Ukrainian National Olympic Committee, Senior Vice President of the IAAF, Member of IOC Executive Board and Chairman of the IOC Athlete’s Commission. He has also been a Member of the Ukrainian Parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers as the Prime Minister’s Advisor for Youth, Culture and Sports.
In addition to his work as a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, among the charitable organisations Bubka supports are the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organisation/Fight against Tuberculosis, UNESCO, Programme for Chernobyl Children Victims and the Regional and Public Coordination Board for the Social Protection of Handicapped and Orphaned Children.