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Bubka Clears 19-5 3/4 to Reclaim Indoor Record From Olson

February 22, 1986|MAL FLORENCE | Times Staff Writer

Sergei Bubka of the Soviet Union set a world indoor pole vault record of 19 feet 5 3/4 inches (5.94 meters) Friday night in the Times/GTE Indoor Games at the Forum.

It was his first victory this year over former record-holder Billy Olson in their ongoing cross-country competition for pole vault supremacy.

Olson, who held the record at 19-5 1/2, was second at 18-10. He missed twice at 19-5 3/4, while Bubka neatly cleared the height on his second attempt.

Olson, who was trailing Bubka in the competition, then wanted the bar raised only two centimeters to 19-6 1/2, but the Soviet delegation protested, saying that the bar, under the rules, would have to go up at least three centimeters. The bar was raised four centimeters to 19-7 1/2.

The discussion was still going on long after the meet ended. In any event, Olson took his final vault at 19-7 1/2 and went under the bar.

Bubka, who had already won the competition and set a world record for good measure, declined to jump at the height.

So the world indoor pole vault record has been broken eight times this season, four times by Olson, three times by Bubka and once by Joe Dial.

Last week in the Millrose Games at New York, Olson beat Bubka when the Soviet athlete no-heighted. Then, on Sunday, in a meet at Chicago, Olson did not compete, and Bubka won.

The vault carnival moves on to the San Diego Arena and the Michelob Invitational Sunday afternoon.

Bubka, 22, the outdoor world record-holder at 19-8, had only one miss during the competition. He requested through the public address announcer that the crowd be as silent as possible on his second try at 19-5 3/4.

But a crowd of 14,449 started cheering. They weren't cheering Bubka, they were cheering Steve Scott who was introduced as part of the mile field. No matter. Bubka made the height anyway.

One by one, the competitors dwindled away in the pole vault until only Bubka and Olson remained.

Olson struggled at earlier heights. He missed badly at 18-4 on his first two attempts, veering to the left each time.

Bubka didn't come into the competition until the bar was raised to 18-6. In the parlance of the sport, he bombed the height, clearing it by a good six inches.

Olson, who was behind on misses, didn't vault at 18-6. Nor did he try at 18-8. Neither did Bubka.

But Olson came back to cleanly clear 18-10 on his second try. Bubka still passed until the bar was raised to 19-2.

Bubka made the height with the bar jiggling ever so gently. Then he thrust his fist into the air, obviously pleased.

There was no reason for Olson to vault at 19-2 because he was already trailing Bubka, who had yet to miss.

In the featured mile, it became a two-man race between Irishmen Ray Flynn and Marcus O'Sullivan, as the others faded near the end.

Flynn had the lead at the bell lap, but O'Sullivan jumped him on the backstretch and pulled away to win in 3:57.21.

Eamonn Coghlan, once acknowledged as the Chairman of the Boards, was never in contention.

O'Sullivan has now won all six miles he has entered on the indoor circuit this year.

The women did most of the record-breaking.

Diane Dixon set a world record of 1:02.59 in the 500-yard run, and UCLA's Jackie Joyner, who set an American outdoor long jump record of 23-9 last August, added the U.S indoor mark to her collection. She won with a jump of 22-5. Heike Dreschler of East Germany is the world record-holder at 23-11.

Jeanette Bolden became the co-holder with Evelyn Ashford of the American record in the 60-yard dash. She won in 6.54 seconds, getting a fast start to beat Alice Brown, who was timed in 6.67.

Valerie Brisco-Hooks, a triple gold-medal winner in the 1984 Olympics, was an easy winner in the women's 220-yard dash. She was clocked in a hand-timed 23.5 seconds.

Greg Foster got off to a slow start in the 60-yard hurdles, but as usual, he was moving strongly at the finish and won in the time of 6.85 seconds. Mark McKoy, who beat Foster out of the blocks, was second in 6.89.

"Mark was was out of the blocks so fast," Foster said. "He reminds me of Houston McTear the way he starts. But I know he loses concentration a little on the later hurdles. And, if I run my own race, I know I'll be there."

McKoy set a Canadian record, though. Only Renaldo Nehemiah, the world record-holder in the event at 6.82 seconds, has run faster than Foster.

Emmitt King, who beat Carl Lewis a few weeks ago at Dallas, won the men's 60-yard dash in 6.09 seconds. But he didn't threaten Lewis' world indoor best of 6.02, established in 1983.

John Brenner won the men's shotput with a throw of 67 feet 4 inches, while Ramona Pagel took the women's event with a toss of 59-10 1/2. Pagel broke the meet record of 56-11 3/4 set by Tamara Press of the Soviet Union in 1965. But the women's shot is seldom contested indoors.

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