For Bubka, 35th Mark Is a Breeze : Track and field: Ukrainian breaks pole vault record with leap of 20-1 3/4, help from wind.

From Associated Press

Sergei Bubka, taking advantage of wind gusts that foiled other athletes Sunday, set a world pole vault record for the 35th time.

Competing at Europe’s highest venue, the 1.264-mile high Alpine resort of Sestriere, Bubka leaped 20 feet 1 3/4 inches, adding a half-inch to the mark he set in Tokyo in 1992.

“The wind was good, blowing in the proper direction,” Bubka said. “The track was perfect and altitude possibly helped.”

Sunday’s world record also was the 17th outdoor mark for the 30-year-old Ukrainian, who has pushed the pole vault mark up fraction by fraction in a 11-year career. The victory earned him a $130,000 Ferrari sports car, a standing payoff for any world record set at Sestriere.


A four-time world champion and an Olympic gold medalist in 1988, Bubka said he can go even higher.

“If I can reach the same form of 1991, I could climb as high as 20-4 1/4 and even 20-8,” Bubka said. “I improved my technique, capitalizing on errors of the last two years.”

Bubka set the record on his first attempt after clearing 18-8 1/4 and 19-4 1/4. He then drove a parade lap in his Ferrari.

Bubka shared the spotlight with others, including American Mike Powell, who matched his long jump world record with a wind-aided leap of 29-4 1/2. Powell defeated Carl Lewis by nine inches in their first meeting since 1992. Because it was wind-aided, the jump will not be recognized for record purposes.


Lewis jumped 28-5 in regular wind conditions and 28-7 1/2 with the wind.

The wind was not a factor when Jackie Joyner-Kersee jumped 24-7 in the women’s event--1 1/4 inches short of the 1988 world mark of Galina Chistiakova of Russia. Heike Drechsler of Germany was second at 24-3.