Valery Brumel

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameValery Nikolayevich•Brumel
Used nameValery•Brumel
Original nameВалерий Николаевич•Брумель
Born14 April 1942 in Razvedki, Amur (RUS)
Died26 January 2003 in Moskva (Moscow), Moskva (RUS)
Measurements185 cm / 79 kg
AffiliationsBurevestnik Moskva, Moskva (RUS)
NOC Soviet Union
Nationality Russian Federation
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 2


Born in a far eastern Siberian village to a family of geologists, who were members of an expedition to explore the region, Valery Brumel grew up in Luhansk, Ukraine where his parents worked at a local university. Brumel took up athletics in 1954 and came to prominence in the 1960 Olympic year, when he won a silver medal behind his teammate, Robert’ Shavlaq’adze. The next year, Brumel set his first world record, clearing 2.23. He took the record from John Thomas, with whom Brumel would have numerous duels, Brumel usually winning. Brumel set six world records between 1961 and 1963, jumping 2.23, 2.24 and 2.25 in 1961; 2.26 and 2.27 in 1962; and 2.28 in 1963. Brumel won the 1962 European title and crowned his career with Olympic gold in 1964, ahead of Thomas, who had become a close friend. He also won the 1961 and 1963 Universiade, was Soviet Champion in 1961-63, adding a silver at the 1964 Soviet Championships.

Brumel’s career was cut short by a leg injury, which he sustained after hitting a lamp post following a fall from a motorcycle (driven by Russian champion Tamara Golikova). It was thought that his leg would need to be amputated but it was saved after numerous operations. Brumel returned to high jumping, but never managed to reach the heights he cleared before the accident, topping out at 2.09 in 1970, the last year he competed. After finishing his sports career, Brumel turned to acting and writing. He starred in such Soviet films like “Sport, Sport, Sport” (1970) and “The Right to Jump” (1971) and wrote numerous novels and plays, including the novel Don’t Change Yourself (1979) which was translated into seven languages, and the plays Dr. Nazarov, Olympic Comedy, and Roar from the Crowd. He also wrote the libretto to Rauf Hacıyev’s operetta Golden Caravel (Золотая каравелла).

Personal Best: HJ – 2.28 (1963).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1960 Summer Olympics Athletics URS RUS Valery Brumel
High Jump, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
1964 Summer Olympics Athletics URS RUS Valery Brumel
High Jump, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Olympic family relations

Special Notes