Sergey Bubka

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Non-starter • Other • Administrator
Full nameSerhiy Nazarovych "Sergey"•Bubka
Used nameSergey•Bubka
Original nameСергій Назарович•Бубка
Other namesSergey Nazarovich Bubka, Сергей Назарович Бубка
Born4 December 1963 in Luhansk, Luhansk (UKR)
Measurements183 cm / 80 kg
AffiliationsSpartak Donetsk/Donetsk U.
NOC Soviet Union Ukraine Unified Team
Nationality Ukraine
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


Sergey Bubka is considered by many athletics historians as the most dominant pole vaulter of all-time. Bubka took up athletics in 1973 at age nine and initially did sprints and long jumping, but switched to pole vaulting in 1974. He was the first athlete to use the Petrov/Bubka technique, partly named for his coach, which allowed him to grip the pole higher than most vaulters.

Bubka first competed internationally as a senior at the 1983 World Championships, where he emerged victorious. He went on to win five more World titles in 1987, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1997. Despite his dominance, however, Bubka struggled at the Olympics, and won only one medal. After missing the 1984 Games due to the Soviet boycott and placing second in the pole vault at the Friendship Games, Bubka won an expected gold medal in Seoul in 1988. In Barcelona in 1992, however, Bubka was one of the Games’ major disappointments, missing his starting height in the final. Injury prevented him from competing in Atlanta, and at the Sydney Games in 2000, by then past his prime, he was eliminated in qualification.

Bubka won numeous other titles, including the World Indoors in 1985, 1987, 1991 and 1995; the 1986 European title; the 1985, 1987, 1991 and 1995 European Indoors; the 1986 Goodwill Games; the 1985 World Cup; the 1985 European Cup; and the 1985 and 1997 Grand Prix finals. He also broke the world record 28 times (17 outdoor, 11 indoor), usually bettering it by just a centimetre, as he collected bonus money for each improvement. He broke his first world record in May 1984 (5.85) and was the first vaulter to clear 6 metres in June 1985, in Paris; and 20 feet (6.10) in August 1991 in Malmö, Sweden. Bubka set his final world record of 6.15 in February 1993 in Donetsk which stood almost 21 years.

Bubka retired from athletics in 2001 and then embarked on a career in sports administration and politics. Already a member of the IOC Athlete’s Commission, he became president of the Ukrainian NOC and a full member of the IOC in 2005. In 2013, he ran for IOC President, but lost out to Thomas Bach. Bubka was the IOC Executive Board athletes’ representative from 2000-07 and from 2012-20 was a member of the Executive Board. Since 2001, Bubka has been an IAAF council member and in 2011 was elected as an IAAF vice-president. From 2002-06, Bubka served in the Ukrainian parliament and on its Committee on youth policy, physical culture, sport and tourism. In 2014 he ran for IAAF President, but lost that election to Sebastian Coe.

Personal Best: PV – 6.15i (1993).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1988 Summer Olympics Athletics URS UKR Sergey Bubka
Pole Vault, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1992 Summer Olympics Athletics EUN UKR Sergey Bubka
Pole Vault, Men (Olympic) AC r2/2
1996 Summer Olympics Athletics UKR Sergey Bubka
Pole Vault, Men (Olympic) DNS
2000 Summer Olympics Athletics UKR Sergey Bubka
Pole Vault, Men (Olympic) AC r1/2

Organization roles

Role Organization Tenure NOC As
Executive Board Athletes Representative International Olympic Committee 2000—2007 UKR Sergey Bubka
Athlete International Olympic Committee 2000—2008 UKR Sergey Bubka
President National Olympic Committee of Ukraine 2005—2022 UKR Sergey Bubka
NOC International Olympic Committee 2008—2018 UKR Sergey Bubka
Executive Board Member International Olympic Committee 2012—2020 UKR Sergey Bubka
Individual International Olympic Committee 2018— UKR Sergey Bubka

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1996 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony UKR Sergey Bubka

Olympic family relations

Special Notes


Although his givenname spelling is "Serhiy" in transliterated Ukrainian, he has always used the Russian style of Sergey.