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Pole Vaulter Sergei Bubka Retires

February 4, 2001

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) _ Before a roaring crowd and with praise from his president, Sergei Bubka retired Sunday after one of the greatest careers in track and field history.

The 37-year-old pole vault king was honored at a ceremony at the Pole Vault Stars, the competition in Donetsk he founded.

Bubka set world records 35 times. He won six consecutive world championships and an Olympic gold medal.

He said he will now be kept busy in his role as a member of the IOC’s executive board. And there are other duties closer to home.

``There is my club in Donetsk, its work,″ he said. ``And, of course, my family to take my time.″

Bubka received a bouquet amid cheers from the crowd. There was also an open letter from President Leonid Kuchma.

``Thanks to you, the world learned about Ukraine in a new sense,″ Kuchma said.

Bubka still holds the the indoor and outdoor marks of 20 feet, 2 inches and 20-1 3/4. No one else has come close.

The competition at Donetsk underlined Bubka’s domination of the sport. The winner, Israel’s Aleksandr Averbukh, cleared 19-2 1/4. He was followed by South Africa’s Okkerts Brits at 19-0 1/4 and Ukraine’s Denys Yurchenko at 18-8 1/4.

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