Yuri Sedykh, one of track and field’s longest-standing world record holders, dies at 66

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One of track and field’s longest-standing world record holders, Yuri Sedykh, died of a heart attack Tuesday, according to the Russian federation.

Sedykh, who won Olympic hammer throw gold at both the Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980 Games – plus silver at Seoul in 1988, was 66.

Competing for the Soviet Union, Sedykh had a world-record throw of 86.74 meters at the 1986 European Championships. In the 35 years leading up to that mark, the men’s hammer world record had been broken 39 times. No one has legally reached or surpassed it in the 35 years since.

Sedykh’s world record is the second-longest standing men’s outdoor world record in the sport of track and field, as well as the second-longest standing world record in men’s or women’s outdoor field events. Only the men’s discus world record has stood longer, and by a mere 85 days.

“Deeply mourn the loss of [Yuri] Sedykh,” three-time world champion pole vaulter Sergei Bubka tweeted. “An outstanding two-time Olympic Champion, whose fantastic World record in Hammer Throw (86.74)  for 35 years is [still] not broken.”

Sedykh’s career had an impressive longevity, with 15 years between his first Olympic gold and 1991 World title. He retired two years later and moved on to coaching.

His daughter Oksana Kondratyeva, from his first marriage to 1980 Olympic 100m champion Lyudmila Kondratyeva, also became an elite hammer thrower and was seventh at the 2013 World Championships for Russia.

He later married 1988 Olympic shot put gold medalist Natalya Lisovskaya; their daughter, Alexia Sedykh, won the inaugural Youth Olympic hammer throw gold medal for France in 2010.

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