Sergey Bubka (Ukraine) made a terrific comeback to his winning ways after a disappointing injury kept him out of the Olympic final in Atlanta last year. He cleared his opening height of 5.70 on his second attempt. After that he started gambling, passing both 5.80 and 5.86, but coming back to clear 5.91 on his second attempt.
The competition got off to a slow start with many big names struggling at their opening heights. The 1996 Olympic Champion, Jean Galfione of France, was unable to clear 5.70. Also Riaan Botha (South Africa), a 5.91 performer this year, did not make it over 5.70.
Tim Lobinger (Germany) cleared 5.80 on his first attempt, taking the lead. Dean Starkey (USA) also cleared 5.80 on his first try, but landed in 2nd place, because of a miss from lower heights. Tarasov and Bubka both passed this height.
Bubka passing again at 5.86 and Tarasov took the lead by making it on his first attempt. Starkey made it on his third, for 2nd place at that moment.
Bubka took the lead by jumping 5.91 on his second attempt. Both Tarasov and Starkey cleared on their 3rd attempts.
Bubka passed 5.96 and Tarasov answered with a fabulous first attempt clearance to take the lead again. Starkey failed his first attempt and then passed the others. But the master was himself again. Bubka cleared 6.01 on his first attempt taking the gold home once again. Tarasov took silver with his 5.96 and surprising Starkey won the bronze with his seasonal best of 5.91.
Bubka now has won six World Championship gold medals, every pole vault crown in the history of the meet. The Ukrainian’s accomplishment may never be matched.