Pole vaulter Sergey Bubka burst onto the international scene when, as a 19 year old, he won gold at the inaugural World Athletics Championships in 1983. Over the next 14 years, he won all five World Championships, and is still the only athlete in any event to win six.
Something usually went wrong for Bubka at the Olympic Games. The Soviet Union boycott in 1984 prevented him from participating. He won gold at the 1988 Seoul Games with an outstanding vault of 5.90m, but at the 1992 Barcelona Games the Olympic curse struck again: he failed to register a legal vault. He was then injured for Atlanta. At the 2000 Sydney Games, he failed at the relatively easy height of 5.70m.
In 1984 Bubka set his first world record with a vault of 5.85m. He proceeded to spend the rest of the decade breaking the world record time and time again, usually by just one centimetre at a time…
A height of 6m was regarded as impossible in pole vaulting. However, Bubka cleared this height for the first time in June 1985. He then increased the record incrementally, setting his 17th and final world record with a vault of 6.14m in July 1994, a record which still stands today.