Pole vaulting champ joins IOC Presidential race

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Seoul Olympics pole vaulting champ Sergei Bubka of Ukraine entered the race to replace Jacques Rogge as IOC President Tuesday, making his announcement in St. Petersburg just ahead of this week’s IOC executive board meeting.

Bubka, a six time world champ who set the vaulting record 17 times (and still holds it), competed for both the Soviet Union and Ukraine during his 20-year career. He believes it’s his background as an athlete, businessman, and sports official make him an ideal candidate for the IOC.

“I’m confident that all of these experiences give me a strong platform to work together with you to lead our great organization through the next exciting, yet challenging chapter,” Bubka said. “Our challenge is to maintain those historic values while adapting and growing as the modern world changes.”

Bubka has served as an athlete representative for the IOC executive board following the 2000 Sydney Games. He was elected as a full-time member in 2008 and has served on several committees.

“From a young age I wanted to become an Olympian and I was fortunate enough to achieve my dream,” Bubka said in a letter to the IOC. “I was lucky. I had the right team around me… Even as an individual doing an individual sport, you cannot succeed alone. Only together, we are strong. Only together, we will be able to address the challenges that lie ahead of us.”

At 49-years-old, Bubka is a full decade younger than the next closest candidate in age, perceived front-runner Thomas Bach of Germany, who is also a successful businessman with an Olympic gold medal to his name. The two men join Ng Ser Miang of Singapore, Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, C.K. Wu of Taiwan, and Denis Oswald of Switzerland on the ballot.