Updated 24 August 2007
Germán Pablo CHIARAVIGLIO, Argentina (Pole Vault)
Born 16 April 1987, Santa Fe, capital of Santa Fe province, Argentina; 1.94m, 83kg
Lives in Santa Fe with his parents: Guillermo and Miriam Ermácora, his brother Guillermo Jr. and his sister Valeria.
Coach: His father, Guillermo, and Vitaly Petrov (former coach of Sergey Bubka)
Club: Velocidad y Resistencia
German Chiaraviglio is the second of three children, all pole vaulters, and you can tell from his e-mail address who he admires – it contains the name Bubka in it. All three siblings idolise Sergey Bubka, the six times world champion, and their parents are proud because the Chiaraviglio family has been represented in the last three World Youth Championship by three different children.
Guillermo Chiaraviglio Jr competed in Debrecen in 2001 (12q), Germán Chiaraviglio in Sherbrooke 2003 (gold medallist); and Valeria Chiaraviglio in Marrakech 2005 (9q). Their father, Guillermo, a 5-time national Pole Vault champion, coaches them and their mother, Miriam Ermacora, was an international shot putter. At home in Santa Fe, she tries to stop the discussions around the pole vault discipline during dinner.
German’s elder brother, Guillermo jr. (b. 1984) was bronze medallist at SAm U23 Barquisimeto 2004 and silver medallist at SAm U23 Buenos Aires 2006, PB 5.20; younger sister, Valeria (b. 1989), is Argentine U16 & U18 National record holder, PB 3.80..
When they were children, their father bought a magazine with two posters. Everyone wanted the Bubka one, so they made a draw, and Guillermo jr. won it. That’s why Germán has an Allen Johnson picture over his head every night.
Until he was 14, Germán practised athletics and soccer simultaenously. He played as a forward at “El Quilla” club because he was fast and tall (he’s a Colón club fan). He used to score many goals, so his soccer coach, Carlos Roteta, tried to convince him to leave track and field training and to dedicate himself full-time to the other sport, which is much more profitable. However, Germán decided to continue with the pole vault not only because it was his family tradition, but also because he began to earn trips to different parts of the country.
In 2002, when he was only 15, he broke his first NYR with 4.62, and later won the South American Youth Championships, improving his mark to 4.75 at Asunción, Paraguay, finishing the year with 4.81.
In 2003, at 16, he passed the 5-meter barrier, broke NJR and SAm YR and won the South American Junior Championships with 5.16 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. But his biggest impact came in Sherbrooke, with his astonishing performance that gave him the gold medal.
He jumped 5.15, defeating rivals one year older and became the first world champion for Argentina in this sport, in any age category, and the first gold medal winner in any IAAF World Athletics Series event for his country. One week later, he won the Pan American Junior Championships in Barbados.
He became a celebrity in his home town of Santa Fe, one of the most important cities in Argentina, which suffered its worst tragedy during 2003. A big river that crosses the city overflowed because of great rains and flooded one third of the city. That catastrophe also destroyed the track where Germán and his colleagues trained every day, and the Chiaraviglio family offered their hospitality to two other athletes who had to leave their homes because of the water. That was only two months before his victory in Sherbrooke.
In 2004. Germán made another big improvement in his personal mark. On May 1st in Porto Alegre, Brazil, he cleared the bar at 5.51, breaking many records in South American track and field history. He was only 17, but his performance was enough to secure the Argentine National record and the second all-time mark in the region. Also, it was the new U18 World best. That day, he finished jumping with the poles of Argentine record holder Javier Benítez (5.40), because Germán didn’t have the adequate equipment material to jump so high.
Later in the year, Chiaraviglio was second at World Junior Championships in Grosseto with 5.45. He was the second Argentine to get a silver medal in this competition (Julio Piñero, discus, Lisbon 94), and it was a special day for Germán because Bubka presented him the medal. He was really close to making the qualifying standard for the Olympic Games in Athens but he injured his left foot, so he decided to travel with his friends on their high school graduation trip, instead of continuing to try to go to Greece. Germán finished high school in 2004 and started to study Marketing at the University in 2005, but he quit, hoping to continue in the following years.
In spite of the bone injury in his left foot, which finally pushed him to have surgery in September 2005, Germán had a great 2005 season. He won the bronze medal at the South American Championships in Cali, repeated his Pan American junior title in Windsor (5.40), and broke his personal best with 5.55 in his home town on 4th September.
After the surgery, Chiaraviglio was out of competition for seven months, but returned in great shape in 2006. He first improved his personal best to 5.65 in April, during the National Championships. After that, he won the Ibero-American Championships in Puerto Rico with 5.70, his first continental senior title, being only 19 years old. Repeating great experiences of the past, he spent a couple of months in Formia, Italy, training with Vitaly Petrov, and sharing experiences with great pole vaulters like Yelena Isinbayeva and Giuseppe Gibilisco.
Chiaraviglio received some invitations to compete in the Golden League, but he had always said that in 2006 his main goal would be the World Junior Championships in Beijing. Although he travelled there as the clear favourite, he seemed to feel no pressure. He won the gold medal with a PB of 5.71 (third mark in all-time junior lists), and tried to beat the 5.80 World record of Maksim Tarasov.
After that competition, he represented the Americas team at the World Cup in Athens, where he won the bronze medal with 5.70. Germán was only the third Argentine athlete to participate in this competition (Andrés Charadía, 5th hammer throw La Habana 92; Antonio Silio, 2nd 10000m London 94). Nowadays he’s still the only Argentine athlete who has won, not only one, but two gold medals of any category in Athletics World Championships (Sherbrooke 2003 and Beijing 2006).
At the end of an exhausting season, he won the South American Championships in Colombia with 5.40 and the Odesur Games in Buenos Aires with 5.65, attempting the 5.80 Tarasov mark for the third time in the year, but unfortunately he couldn’t make it. That was his last competition as a junior athlete, sharing that emotion with his older brother, Guillermo jr., who finished second with personal best of 5.20.
At the beginning of 2007, Germán took part in a couple of indoor meetings, breaking the South American indoor record with 5.60 in Donetsk, Bubka’s city. After that, he focused on the outdoor season having two goals in mind: Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro and the Osaka World Championships.
As training for these big tournaments, he won the silver medal at the South American Championships in Sao Paulo, being defeated by Fabio Gomes da Silva. The Brazilian star also clinched the Pan American Games title, followed by Mexican Giovanni Lanaro, while Chiaraviglio finished in the third place. This was his first participation in this competition.
1999–3.50; 2000–3.81; 2001–4.20; 2002–4.81; 2003–5.32; 2004–5.41i/5.51 (WYR); 2005–5.55; 2006–5.71 (AJR); 2007–5.60/5.60i (AR)
5.71 (2006); 5.60i (2007)
2002 1st South American Youth Championships (Asunción) 4.75
2003 1st South American Junior Championships (Guayaquil) 5.16
1st World Youth Championships (Sherbrooke) 5.15
1st Pan American Junior Championships (Bridgetown) 5.15
2004 2nd World Junior Championships (Grosseto) 5.45
3rd Ibero-American Championships (Huelva) 5.30
1st South American Youth Championships (Guayaquil) 5.20
2005 3rd South American Championships (Cali) 5.10
1st Pan American Junior Championships (Windsor) 5.40
2006 1st Ibero-American Championships (Ponce) 5.70
1st World Junior Championships (Beijing) 5.71
3rd World Cup (Athens) 5.70
1st South American Championships (Tunja) 5.40
1st South American U23 Championships/Odesur Games 5.65
2007 2nd South American Championships (Sao Paulo) 5.40
3rd Pan American Games (Rio de Janeiro) 5.20
Prepared by Víctor Pochat for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. © IAAF 2006.