Updated 19 July 2012
Maksym Mazuryk, Ukraine (Pole Vault)
Born: 2 April 1983, Donetsk
Sports club “Dynamo”
Coaches: Oleksandr Simahin, Serhiy Simahin
Maksym Mazuryk was born into a sports family. His father, Anatoliy, was a medallist in wrestling at the USSR Championships. His mother, Svitlana, was a gymnast. Maksym started in gymnastics as well but then changed to wrestling and swimming. At the age of 13, Velentina Simahina (mother of his future coaches) invited Mazuryk to the Sergey Bubka athletics school. At that time Oleksandr Simahin was an active athlete but, in 1997, he was injured and became a coach. From 1997 until now he and Mazuryk have been a team.
“I was 14-years-old when I took part in my first Pole Vault event,” Mazuryk recalled. “I cleared 2.60 only. But, in 1999, I jumped 4.60 at the National Youth Championships, in Odessa, and decided to dedicate my life to Pole Vault.”
In February 2001 Mazuryk flew over 5m for the first time. That winter he achieved 5.10 at Sergey and Vasiliy Bubka’s indoor competition, in Donetsk, and repeated this result in the summer, at the International Youth Match, in Gomel. But his first winter performance of 2002 was unsuccessful. Mazuryk fell beside the mat, in Kharkov, and suffered a back injury.
Mazuryk had to rehabilitate quickly because of his big goals for the 2002 summer season. On 16 May, he won at the National Junior Championships, in Bila Tserkva, setting a PB 5.50 but the head coach decided that it happened by chance. Only after he finished 2nd at the National Championships, in Kyiv, with 5.50, was Mazuryk included in the national team for the World Junior Championships, in Kingston.
“There were a lot of things which happened with me for the first time in my life,” Mazuryk laughed. “My first trip abroad, my first flight, my first 5-star hotel, my first World Junior Championships and first qualification round… I broke my softest pole at practice and was panic-stricken. I was limited seriously and went through qualification in fear. My performance in the final was not easy. I made 16 jumps in the final and won only because I cleared 5.55 at the second attempt.”
Mazuryk’s countryman, Vladyslav Revenko, also cleared 5.55 but at the third attempt and had to settle for the silver medal. “I was proud on the podium because the stadium announcer said that I came from the native town of Sergey Bubka (Donetsk) and had been training in his athletics school.”
In 2003 Mazuryk raised his indoor PB at the “Pole Vault’s Stars” in Donetsk to 5.50 but could not match this result in the summer. However, he was given a place in the national team for the European U23 Championships, in Bydgoszcz, Poland. But he was unable to repeat his previous success, finishing 3rd with 5.45 only.
The next year Mazuryk dreamed about the Athens Olympics. He improved his PB to 5.75 at the Regional Championships, in Mariupol, on 22 June, but missed out on the Olympic team after finishing 5th (5.40) at the National Championships, in Yalta. In 2005, after setting an indoor PB (5.65) at National Championships, Mazuryk began to work with manager Lyudmila Olijar and went to his first Grand Prix event, in Villenueve d’Ascq, on 12 June.
“I remember this competition very well because of two factors,” Mazuryk recalled. “First, we had to compete in pairs. I took part in the event coupled with ex women’s World Indoor record holder, Anzhela Balakhonova, from Ukraine. It was so interesting because victory depended not only on your result but on someone else. We won and I finished first in the men’s event with a season’s best 5.65 despite jumping with unfamiliar poles for the first time in my career.”
In the middle of June, Mazuryk took part at European U23 Championships, in Erfurt, Germany. He hoped to clear the qualifying standard of 5.70 for the World Championships but finished only 6th with 5.60. It was the same height as the bronze medallist but Mazuryk needed more attempts. “My competition experience was not enough to cope with nerves and some technical mistakes,” Mazuryk concluded. “I needed some prompting from my coach but he stayed in Donetsk, even though there were two vaulters from his group in Erfurt.”
In the winter of 2006 Mazuryk won his first National Championships with a PB 5.70 and went to the World Indoor Championships in Moscow. But he was not ready to compete so early. Qualification started at 10 o’clock in the morning and he was feeling sleepy. He jumped 5.45 and was eliminated.
In the 2006 summer Mazuryk finished 3rd at the National Championships, in Kyiv, and was included in the national team for the European Championships, in Göteborg, by the decision of the Coaching Council. But, at the European Championships, the judges had to stop qualification because of a downpour and 20 athletes started in the final. Mazuryk was among them but he finished only 8th with 5.50.
During his preparation for the winter season 2007 Mazuryk injured his back. Come the first summer event he was jumping while continuing his treatment. He won easily at the Championships between Ukrainian institutes of higher education and he was sure that he would go to the World University Games, in Bangkok. But, after his frustration at the National Championships, where he cleared 5.30 for 6th place, he withdrew from the national university team. After a couple of competitions in Sardinia, where he jumped 5.50 and 5.70, he reserved a place in the team for World Championships, in Osaka.
In Japan, Mazuryk went through qualification and achieved his season’s best in the final (5.76). But it was enough for 11th place only. Mazuryk was in good shape but the poles he had in Osaka were too soft and he got out of them everything he could.
In the winter of 2008 Mazuryk had a full season. By the end of January he had already jumped 5.75 and, in the middle of February, he set a PB 5.81 at the Zepter Pole Vault Stars event, in Donetsk, for an impressive victory. He was ready to improve his PB more but, at the World Indoor Championships, in Valencia, he competed without his coach again and finished 6th with 5.70.
Mazuryk began the 2008 summer season with a good result at the Golden League event in Berlin, clearing 5.80 to take 2nd place. A few days later, on 6 June, at the National Cup in Yalta, he set a PB 5.82 and won easily. But, after those competitions, he felt pain in his Achilles tendons. However, he continued his participation at different competitions, finishing 2nd at the National Championships and booking his ticket to the Beijing Olympics.
One week before the Olympic Games, Mazuryk’s hands slipped from the pole and he fell to the track, hurting both heels. For three days he walked on tiptoes. The doctor of the wrestling team “conjured” with his heels but there was not enough time to overcome the pain. Mazuryk appeared in the Bird’s Nest stadium wearing compression bandages. He concentrated on the runway much more than on the technique of the jump. It was his main mistake. As a result, he jumped in qualification 5.55 only and missed the final. But, during the season, he collected enough points to compete at the World Athletics Final, in Stuttgart, where he was 3rd with 5.60.
Mazuryk performed just a few starts in the 2009 winter season and decided to prepare for the outdoor World Championships, in Berlin, from the beginning of March. The new head coach of the Ukrainian team decided to organise centralised training camps for all jumpers but Mazuryk needed an individual schedule.
“My preparation was under threat,” Mazuryk said. “The head coach of the Donetsk region understood my training necessities and financed my staying in different training camps. I was in good shape but I didn’t jump high at the National Championships. My name appeared on the national team list for Berlin only after my good performance in Monaco where I jumped 5.80.
“I came to Kyiv for my last training camp before the World Championships but was really shocked once more. I had to go to Berlin by bus. Certainly, I refused this long and tiresome trip and bought a ticket for a direct flight at my own expense. Moreover, I was angry because my coach was left in Donetsk as always. I asked the former Ukrainian pole vaulter, Vyacheslav Kalinichenko (coach of Monika Pyrek), to help me in the final.
“I was strong physically and excited mentally. It looked like I was ready to jump 6m and at that moment I needed a few words for calming from my coach much more than some technical corrections. At least I jumped 5.75 in Berlin and took 4th place.” Mazuryk wanted a reward for his good shape and got it at the World Athletics Final, in Thessaloniki, winning with 5.70.
On 2 October 2009 Mazuryk married Ukrainian Indoor Pole Vault record holder, Natalia Kushch (PB 4.52).
“I didn’t know what I could show at the World Indoor Championships 2010,” Mazuryk said after winning at the National Indoor Championships, in Sumy. “I expected to achieve 5.80 – 5.85 this winter but I have had some problems with the run-up. Moreover our flight to the WIC in Doha took 24 hours because of long connections. So in Qatar’s capital I was able to clear 5.45m only and didn’t go through the qualifying round.”
Maksym’s summer season 2010 began in May from 3rd place with 5.60m at the Diamond League event in Shanghai. Then he won the National Cup in Yalta to go to the European Team Championships but in Bergen he was disappointed with 5.25m only and 8th place. «There were many technical mistakes in my jumps and some discords in training process with my coach,” Mazuryk says. “The worst thing was that I did a bad turn for my team. If I had a won a medal we could go up in the team competition and finished ahead of fifth place.”
After this failure Maksym began his purposeful preparation for the European Championships. In Barcelona he went to the final easily with 5.65 in qualification and on 31 July finally achieved 2nd place, clearing 5.80m SB in second attempt. “It was first time in my career when I could realise my physical shape. I did my utmost to make a surprise for my wife who waited for our first child,” Mazuryk added.
On 7 August 2010 his wife Natalia gave birth to their daughter Inessa. “I wanted to finish my season at the Continental Cup with personal best. But it was not easy because my highest shape was at the European Championships. I was able to jump 5.65 in Split and get 4th place only.”
Mazuryk went successfully through almost all the winter season 2011, setting a Personal Indoor Best at the ‘Pole Vault Stars’ meeting in Donetsk on 12 February. But in Potsdam, during the last before the European Indoor Championships, Maksym got a neck injury. That is why in Paris he tried to go through qualification using soft poles. Such caution ended in failure at the height of 5.55. At the European Indoor Championships Mazuryk didn’t make the final…
In April 2011, Mazuryk decided to go to the training camp in Formia to take some advice from Vitaliy Petrov and to have the best facilities for summer preparation. As a result of excellent work, Maksym started the outdoor competition season with high and very stable results. Three times on succession he jumped over 5.72: in Yalta on 30 May, in Bydgoszcz on 3 June and at the European Team Championships in Stockholm on 19 June.
“Unfortunately I had to finish my season after the Championships in Stockholm,” Mazuryk says. “Because of weather conditions, our competitions were moved into the Indoor arena. I wanted not only to win, but with World Leading result. I was up in the first attempt on height of 5.85, but I sprained my take-off ankle and then failed and got a triceps injury. At the end of July I tried to make my first jumps in practice but the pain in the triceps came back. We had no time for recovering before World Championships in Daegu and decided to withdraw from the main competitions of the year.”
Mazuryk was able to do his usual training and full loading only in November. During the winter season 2012, his speed and physical condition were great. “But I didn’t have enough power and competition skills to show high and stable results,” Maksym resumed. “I achieved 5.72 in Potsdam and made a decision to stop my winter performances and don’t go to World Indoor Championships.”
Mazuryk opened the Olympic season 2012 with 5.62 on 20 May and cleared 5.72 at the National Cup in Yalta on 27 May, where he was injured. All meetings in June and July he passed with pain in the quadriceps muscle of the thigh. All treatments were unsuccessful.
“I came back home at the beginning of July and my doctor, Oleg Kassatka, made deep and thorough examination of my back and leg,” Mazuryk says. “As it turned out, I had trained and competed with an injured piriform (pear) muscle. In two weeks I already had appreciable changes for the better and hope that I’ll able to compete in London in very high shape.”
In 2003 Mazuryk finished the College of Olympic Reserves, in Donetsk, named after Bubka. In 2009 he graduated as specialist in merchandising and trade business from Donetsk’s National Economic University. He has many hobbies, such as billiards, snowboarding, hunting and fishing. His biggest catch is a 7.5kg carp.
5.82 (2008), 5.88i (2011)
Outdoor/Indoor: 1999: 4.60 / - ; 2000: 4.80 / - ; 2001: 5.10 / 5.10i; 2002: 5.55 / - ; 2003: 5.45 / 5.50i; 2004: 5.75 / 5.60i; 2005: 5.65 / 5.65i; 2006: 5.70 / 5.70i; 2007: 5.76 / 5.50i; 2008: 5.82 / 5.81i; 2009: 5.80 / 5.56i; 2010: 5.80 / 5.70i; 2011: 5.72 / 5.88i; 2012: 5.72/5.72i
2002 1st World Junior Championships
2003 3rd European U23 Championships
2005 6th European U23 Championships
2006 q World Indoor Championships
2006 8th European Championships
2007 11th World Championships
2008 6th World Indoor Championships
2008 q Olympic Games
2008 3rd World Athletics Final
2009 4th World Championships
2009 1st World Athletics Final
2010 q World Indoor Championships
2010 8th European Team Championships
2010 2nd European Championships
2010 4th Continental Cup
Prepared by Liudmyla Iakusheva for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2012.