Sergey Bubka - President Ukraine NOC and IOC Member Share PDF Print E-mail
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Sergey Bubka is the president of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine and Vice-President of the International Association of Athletics Federations. Bubka is a member of the International Olympic Committee, where he previously served on the IOC athletes commission. He is also one of Peace and Sport’s 54 ‘Champions of Peace’.

Before his time in sports governance, Bubka was considered one of the greatest pole-vaulters of all time. During his sporting career he broke 35 world records for men’s pole vaulting in his career, won six consecutive IAAF World Championships in addition to obtaining an Olympic gold medal in the sport for the Soviet Union at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Bubka is currently a nominee for the presidency of the International Olympic Committee, running for the position which will be chosen in September at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires.

By Steve Moorhouse

You had an incredible career in sport, dominating pole vault for many years. How does your experience as a top sportsman, in the Olympics, help you at the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine and the IOC?

It was certainly very helpful for two reasons. Firstly, I know sport very well from many aspects so it is easy for me to understand what athletes, coaches and managers need to prepare and perform at the highest level and also what spectators need to enjoy the competition, to stay active and healthy in their everyday life through sport.

Secondly, when I started my administrative career, my name was already well known in Ukraine and all over the world due to my achievements as an athlete. It made it much easier to promote sport, to look for cooperation and support from government and non-governmental institutions and to involve a range of partners in sport.

I believe that we have to ensure that retired athletes are given the opportunity to play an important role within the IOC and the Olympic Family, NOCs and IFs when their competitive careers are over. Each one has significant influence in their own countries and they are perfectly positioned to be ambassadors for the Olympic Movement and its values.

What was the biggest challenge for you when you retired from playing sport and went into the business and administration side of sport?

Since I retired from competing – and even before retirement - I never hesitated about what I should do in the future. Since early childhood sport has not been a part of my life – it is my whole life. Along with my family and friends, it is my greatest love, it is what I live for. Sport gave me everything I have so I am happy to be able to give back as much as I can.

I prepared myself for a career in sports administration since the early 1990s when I launched Sport Club in Donetsk, Ukraine, and managed the ‘Pole Vault Stars’ meeting, as well as launching my business.  I educated myself a lot using every spare hour between practices, studying law, sports marketing and management. So when the IOC Athletes’ Commission was launched by Juan Antonio Samaranch, I was ready to make my first steps into an administrative career.

However, there are a lot of athletes who struggle to find their way after they retire from sport. That is why we also have a responsibility to our athletes that extends beyond the Games and beyond their careers. We have a duty to protect their rights and interests. Athletes have the ability to make a positive impact in society so the Movement has to ensure they are educated and equipped to play a full role.

You became an IOC member in 1999 and a member of the Executive Board a year later. How has the IOC changed since then and developed?

The Olympic Movement has been led superbly by Juan Antonio Samaranch and now by President Rogge and the IOC is the most successful sports organisation in the world. Great efforts have been made to ensure the success of the Olympic Games despite the global recession, to address the new challenges of the modern world, to launch new projects, such as the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). The IOC Presidency has a great tradition, which needs to be continued.

You are in the running to be the IOC’s new president. If you are successful, how do you want to change the IOC? What can we expect from your Presidency if you were selected?

If I am given the honour of being selected as the next IOC President, my main task will be to ensure that we re-engage young people. And here my age could work in my favour. As the father of two sons, both in their twenties, I am more than connected to the needs and wishes of the next generation.

The IOC will become more relevant to young people and indeed to all those who watch or participate in sport above and beyond what we do around the Olympic Games. I would like my Presidency to embrace new cultures and promote the Games in new territories and to ensure that I am representing everyone associated with the Olympic Movement. I really want the Olympic Movement to establish itself at the heart of sport, 365 days a year.

What makes you the stand-out candidate for the role? Why do your previous experiences make you the man to run the IOC? Have you ever considered running for President before now and why this is the right time for you?

I have dedicated my life to promoting Olympic Values, to changing people’s lives for better through sport. I see every day how sport unites nations, how it teaches young people respect, self-discipline, teamwork, and provides a solid foundation for every aspect of their lives.

I have worked at the IOC for almost two decades starting with a membership in the Athletes’ Commission. I’ve been an IOC member since 1999, already serving my third term as an IOC Executive Board member. It is now 12 years since I became a member of the IAAF Council. Since 2007 I have served as Vice President. It is a great honour for me to work for several IOC and IAAF Commissions including those which coordinate the Olympic Games and World Athletics Championships. I could also mention my eight years as Ukrainian NOC President and 21 years of managing the ‘Sport Club’ which I founded in Donetsk, Ukraine, while still an active athlete. I have gained great experience as a sport administrator and I have been lucky to give every minute of my life to what I love.

I believe that Rogge has done a fantastic job and when he retires, the IOC requires someone with a lot of energy, drive, experience and clear vision to guide the Movement as it enters an exciting, though challenging, new era. These are the same qualities that got me to where I am now, so I believe I am well qualified and ready for the IOC President role.

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