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30 Jul 1980
Moscow 1980

Kozakiewicz denies local hero in pole vault

Soviet athletics fans have long loved the field events, and the pole vault at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow proved one of the most passionate and controversial of any event at the Games.

On a steamy afternoon, the Russian fans who packed into the Grand Arena were eager for a victory for home favourite Konstantin Volkov, yet the contest developed into an increasingly tense affair.

A slanging match between several thousand Polish fans in the crowd and the home support got more heated as the event went on.

The hero for the Poles was Lithuanian-born Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz.

He had broken the world record earlier in the year, but by the time the Moscow final arrived his mark had been eclipsed by Frenchmen Thierry Vigneron and Philippe Houvion.

Kozakiewicz and team- mate Tadeusz Slusarski, who was defending his title after winning the gold four years earlier at the Olympic Games in Montreal, qualified with some comfort for the final.

The final turned into a three-way contest between France, Poland and Russia.

The Russian-dominated home crowd roared on Volkov, yet it was the Poles who looked destined to joust for the gold.

Kozakiewicz didn’t miss a single clearance in the final, and celebrated the clinching leap with a less than polite clenched-fist gesture to the disappointed crowd.

For good measure the bar was raised to 5.78m and he sailed over to set another world record.

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