ONE OF HISTORY’S GREATEST ATHLETES - RANKED NO.1 NINE YEARS STRAIGHT BY T&FN - VIKTOR SANEYEV IS ALSO ONE OF NATURE’S MOST GENTLE CREATURES AND A WONDERFUL GENTLEMAN. HE IS RICH WITH KNOWLEDGE (USSR HEAD JUMPS COACH 1981-84), BUT FEW THESE DAYS HAVE THE INTELLIGENCE TO LEARN FROM HIM BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN ARROGANCE, NOT VIK’S. kk
Saneyev honoured with IAAF Silver Order of Merit
Thursday 3 November 2005
Last weekend, Viktor Saneyev, three time Olympic gold medallist, multiple World record breaker, and European champion, in the men’s Triple Jump was honoured, receiving the IAAF Silver Order of Merit.
Saneyev, who turned 60 years of age on 3 October 2005, was given the award on behalf of the IAAF by General Secretary Istvan Gyulai, who travelled to Tbilisi, Georgia, to make the presentation.
Viktor Saneyev (GEO / URS) competing in the 1976 Olympic Games
The Georgian athlete of the century, Viktor Danilovich Saneyev began his Olympic career in 1968 as a 23-year-old, and took his place in the history books in the best possible style by winning the gold medal with a World record of 17.39m, at altitude in Mexico City, Mexico. That mark was his second World record of the day (17 October) as, in an epic battle with Italy’s Giuseppe Gentile (17.22) and Nelson Prudencio of Brazil (17.27), he had to twice leap-frog World record performances by his opponents to win gold!
While the following year saw Saneyev clinch the first of two European titles (1969 and 1974), by the time of the next Olympics in 1972 he was neither European champion nor World record holder. However, he still overcame his continental title conqueror of 1969, East German Jörg Drehmel, to retain the Olympic laurels in Munich. Within a few months too he was also back as World record holder, with a leap of 17.44m which he produced late season in Sukhumi (17 October 1972).
After regaining his European title in 1974, Saneyev also won his third consecutive Olympic title in 1976 in Montreal, Canada. Then in 1980 in Moscow, aged 34, he came desperately close to a fourth gold when finishing second with 17.24m, just eleven centimetres away from matching Al Oerter’s gold medal record achievement of four Olympic titles in one event (men’s Discus Throw).
October 2005 was a very historic month for the men’s Triple Jump. The 15 October 2005 also marked the 30th anniversary of the 17.89m World record which Brazil’s Joao Carlos de Oliveira set in Mexico City. Oliveira, whose career in 1982 was tragically ended by a car accident which led to his right leg being amputated below the knee, was a two-time Olympic medallist himself, finishing behind Saneyev on both occasions. The Brazilian’s World record in 1975 marked the end of Saneyev’s last reign as the furthest triple jumper of all-time, as it surpassed the Georgian’s mark of 17.44m. Oliveira’s World record was to stand for nearly 10 years.
Chris Turner for the IAAF