Sergei Bubka is the holder of the world record in pole vaulting.
Sportswriters attribute his success to tremendous strength and speed. He also uses a pole that is made for a much heavier man and holds it closer to the end than anyone else dares.
The master pole-vaulter now 40, has been unlucky at the Olympics. He has won a gold medal only once, in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In 1984, his country boycotted the Los Angeles Games. That same year, Bubka set his first world record and two months before the Games began, he jumped 12 cm higher than the eventual Olympic title winner! In 1992, he suffered the worst humiliation of his career at the Barcelona Olympics. He botched his first three attempts and was out of the running! Yet, less than two months later, he was back in form and set a new record at a meet in Italy. The Olympic curse continued when Bubka, who was troubled by a heel injury, withdrew from the pole vault competition without making a jump, at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Bubka's world record of 6.14 m set in 1994 has not yet been broken.