The moment I became champion of the world #9 – Sergey Bubka

In preparation for Moscow, SPIKES has tracked down 10 great world champions to ask them about their first golden moment. Six-time pole vault champ Sergey Bubka won gold number one at the 1983 World Championships in Helsinki.

“It was an unforgettable experience to win in Helskini. The qualification sessions was cancelled twice due to the rain, so officials let 27 men through to the final, which lasted seven hours!

“I was only aged 19 at the time and was not considered a medal contender, which freed me from any pressure. To win was like a dream and it was the first time in my life I’d been asked to sign an autograph.

“The pole vault was held on the last day of the championships and there was a traditional party at the team hotel but I was so exhausted I went to bed early. When you are young you sometimes don’t realise the importance of a great win.

“There were memorable moments when I went home. It was only then, before the age of mobile phones, seeing family and friends: I realised the importance of what I’d done.

“I don’t remember buying any special treat. It was just the start of my career, so my coach, Vitaly Petrov, did not let me relax too much. I think I had a couple of weeks’ rest before returning to training.”


Sergey Bubka
Sergey Bubka

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