Sergey Bubka (b. 14 December 1963 in Voroshilovgrad U.S.S.R., today Luhansk, Ukraine) is an Ukrainian athlete. He is the first pole vaulter to clear 6.1 metres (20 feet). He set the current world record of 6.14 metres on 31 July 1994 in Sestriere, Italy.
Sergey Bubka started pole vaulting as young as nine. In 1978, aged 15 Bubka moved to Donetsk, Ukraine with his coach Vitaly Petrov. He entered world athletics in 1983 when he won the event in Helsinki with 5.7 metres (18 feet 8 inches). In the years that followed, Bubka set new standards in pole vaulting. He cleared 6 metres (19 feet 8 inches) on 13 July 1985 in Paris. This height had long been considered unattainable. Bubka improved his own record little by little. In 1988 he achieved 6.06 metres in Nice, France. This increased the suspense whether he could beat the 6.1 metres mark at the Olympic Games in Seoul in the same year. He somewhat disappointed, but still won the gold medal with 5.9 metres (19 feet 4 inches).
Bubka increased the world record by 21 centimetres (8 inches) in the 4 years between 1984 and 1988, more than other pole vaulters have achieved in the previous 12 years. He was the first athlete ever to jump over 6.1 metres in San Sebastián, Spain in 1991. Surprisingly Bubka failed to place in the subsequent Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. He set the current world record of 6.14 metres in 1994 after some comentators have already predicted the decline of the great sportsman. In 1996 Bubka qualified for the Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA, but an injury prevented him from taking part in the games.
The key to Sergey Bubka's success was his speed and strength. This enabled him to use poles that were longer and stiffer than normally used. This resulted in better catapulting action. He was also noted for his technique, gripping the pole notable higher than his competitors.
He was awarded best sportsman of the Soviet Union for three years in a row from 1984 to 1986.
Since 2002, he is a member of the Ukrainian Parliament and its committee on questions of youth policy, physical culture, sport and tourism.