It’s been a while since our first induction to the Blog’s Hall of Fame, so it is time we introduce our second inductee. And this time it’s Israel’s greatest track & field athlete of all-time, one of the greatest pole vaulters of the last 15 years, Aleksandr (or Alex) Averbukh.
My first encounter with Alex occurred at the 1999 World Championships. He immigrated from Russia only a month before that, and in the Championship’s program he was still listed as Russian. Alex was previously a decathlete, with a PB of 8084 points, a whole THOUSAND points better than the Israeli embarrassing record of 7096 (WTF?!). However, by then he already shifted his career to the Pole Vault. I must admit, I never heard of him before the championship, but in Seville he shocked everyone by winning the bronze medal. I still remember the excitement of when it happened – Israel won a medal at the World Athletics Championship! Wow! Averbukh competed with vaulters who were way more celebrated and more experienced than him, but it was he who managed to win the bronze medal with a result of 5.80m, which was also a new NR. Interestingly, he shared the podium with two more Soviet-born vaulters, but only one of them actually represented an ex-Soviet country – Maksim Tarasov (Russia), who won the gold vaulting an unbelievable height of 6.02m, and grabbing his head in amazement afterwards. The silver medalist was Dmitri Markov, who represented Australia. Continue reading