For the first time the world pole vault champion would be someone other than Sergey Bubka, out with an Achilles tendon injury. His heir apparent had long been Tarasov, the 1992 Olympic Champion and a medallist behind Bubka at the last four World Championships, and he grasped the opportunity. The Russian cleared 5.70 and 5.90 first time, 5.96 at the third and 6.02 – adding a centimetre to Bubka’s championship record – at the first try. He had to wait until Markov, who passed 5.96, used up his trials at 6.02 (one) and 6.07 (two) before victory was confirmed. “I hope that now, when people talk about pole vault, they will not talk only about Bubka, but also a bit about me,” he said. As bigger names floundered, Siberian-born Averbukh (an 8084 decathlete in 1997) surprisingly took bronze for Israel’s first ever medal as he was the only man to clear 5.80. Thus, the first three places all went to ex-Soviet athletes.