World Athletics Championships 1983 – 2013
The appearance of the United States at the top of this list is no great surprise, given its dominance of the long jump. Dwight Phillips has been world champion four times and there is a chance, albeit a slight one, that Brittney Reese could match his tally this year.
Neither will emulate the six titles of the pole vaulter, Sergey Bubka, a record for repeat wins of the same event. Three were clinched in Ukrainian colours and three wearing the hammer and sickle of the Soviet Union. Ukraine occupies fourth place in the table, and Russia second, as the Soviet legacy in field events continues, long beyond the Cold War.
It continues in a different way in Cuba where, under its Communist government, the country turned away from Caribbean sprinting culture in favour of the jumps and the throws. For more than twenty years, it has had an exceptional record in triple jump, high jump and long jump, including Ivan Pedroso, who shares Dwight Phillips’ achievement of four gold medals. In Yarisley Silva (above), it now also has a world-class pole vaulter.
France has won seven medals in the men’s pole vault but none of them gold, something which Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie will be hoping to finally put right in Beijing.
Tomorrow: Which countries are the most successful when it comes to throwing things?