Sergey Bubka in 2013
|Native name||Сергі́й Наза́рович Бу́бка|
|Full name||Serhiy Nazarovych Bubka|
|Born||4 December 1963
Voroshilovgrad, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Education||PhD in Pedagogy, Physical culture|
|Alma mater||Ukrainian Academy of Science, Kiev State Institute|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||80 kg (180 lb)|
|Country|| Soviet Union (1981–1991)
|Sport||Track and field|
|Coached by||Vitaly Petrov|
|Updated on 8 September 2012.|
סרגיי בובקה הוא קופץ במוט לשעבר שהישגיו נחשבים לדעת רבים ההישגים הגדולים בתולדות הא"ק. הוא עצמו שבר את שיאיו היולמיים 35 פעמים, דבר הנשמע הזוי (17 פעמים ב-OUTDOORS ו-18 פעמים ב-INDOORS). הוא היה האתלט הראשון לעבור 6.00 מ' במוט.
שיאו העולמי ב-OUTDOORS – שהיה 6.14 מ',( ועדיין לא היה קופץ אחר שקפץ ב'חוץ' גובה זה ) כבר לא רשום כשיא עולמי מאז שינוי החוק, כפי שהוסבר למעלה.
The Frenchman looks nervous and uncertain, waiting on the track for the introductions he couldn’t understand to cease. There is little contrast between the paleness of his freshly chalked hands and the pallor of a face that puffs out its cheeks, licks its dry lips, and stares down the runway and into the unknown. Up in the heavens of the stadium in Donetsk, the god of the sport is at home and relaxed, looking down upon the latest of 21 years’ worth of mortals to challenge his position as the one true deity.
Lavillenie nods to himself, as if to say, you belong here – this is your time. But few are convinced. He has just required all three attempts to clear 6.01m and the bar now looms 6.16m above the ground. As a smiling Sergey Bubka is seen settling himself into his throne to watch, Lavillenie hoists his pole aloft like a gondolier preparing to propel his cargo through the murky waters of Venice. Focused now, he rocks from heel to ball of foot and back again, perhaps in search of that extra Newton of momentum that could make all the difference.
Suddenly, straight-backed, he sets off and powers towards his destiny. He hits his mark and time appears to stand still as the vaulting pole flexes to the limits of its capability. Lavillenie’s mass and speed squared combine to load the pole with enough energy to shorten its chord length to within a whisker of snapping in agony. Time then seems to accelerate as the pole fights back, returning energy with interest to send him soaring towards the stars of the Ukrainian winter sky.
Once at the summit, Lavillenie’s body curls itself around the bar like a three-toed sloth settling down for the night. He is so close in places that the mystic sense we humans possess that allows us to gauge proximity to something without actually touching or seeing it kicks in. Again, a slowing of time is evident as, for a split second, he is suspended in thin air, higher than a pole vaulter has ever been legitimately measured reaching. Legs splayed and arms stretched out, Renaud has become one of the stars he was aiming for.
Before he hits the mat the shock and bewilderment on the Frenchman’s face is clear for all to see. More than all in attendance, he himself can’t quite believe what he has achieved. He needs to first look upwards just to check the bar is still there, resting obediently in place over 20 feet above the track. He puts his hands to his head, pulls at his hair even, starts to run but soon realises he does not know where to go, what to do, how to react. Coaches, rivals, friends move to embrace the new world record holder but Lavillenie is in a state of shock. He wanders back onto the track, covers his face, and lies down. It is probably that or collapse. It is how clearing a greater height than any human being had ever cleared before should be celebrated.
Up in the gods that night, Bubka got to his feet to applaud Lavillenie’s feat before making his way down to greet and congratulate his successor. The Ukrainian legend is known as a good man, a warm man, but there was a suggestion that the smile was somewhat painted on. It may have merely been an understandable inability to completely hide the natural disappointment that must be felt when something cherished is lost and there was certainly no animosity nor bitterness in the great Bubka’s reaction: but look closely at his eyes in the video footage and it is possible to detect a sense of regret that betrays lingering thoughts of what might have been.
Pause the videos when he reaches the summit of his vault and the amount of daylight between body and bar is enormous – at times enough to comfortably better world records by five or ten centimetres. The shame of it is that we will never know just how high Bubka could have gone.