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Three-time Olympic triple jump champion Viktor Saneiev passes away

He is one of the biggest names in the history of athletics who passed away in early 2021. The European Athletics Federation has announced the death of Viktor Saneiev; who had won three consecutive Olympic titles in triple jump and broke the world record for the specialty three times.

Born in Sukhumi; he grew up in Georgia on the shores of the Black Sea where he was able to attend the courses of the Soviet long jump and high jump champions Igor Ter-Ovanessian and Valeri Brumel; which will nurture his vocation. Under the guidance of coach Akop Kerselyan; he became one of the best Soviet athletes in long jump and triple. He will specialize in this last discipline to prepare for the Mexico Games.

Thus; on October 17; 1968; he dominated the Olympic final of the mythical triple jump. In fact; the Italian Giuseppe Gentile in his first attempt breaks the world record of the event with 17.22 m. Viktor Saneiev responds by improving the mark by one centimeter for a new record at 17.23m. But then it was Brazilian Nelson Prudencio’s turn to break the world record with 17.27m on the fifth try. Viktor Saneiev then has an attempt; which is launched at 17.39 m and sets the fourth world record of the day (with a favorable wind at the limit: 2.0 m / s).

-He was my partner; my friend; my idol; my unhappy brother. Jonathan Edwards marked the discipline but Saneiev changed it […] I have immense respect. I did my thesis on him … He was a very tall man “

Bernard Lamitié; former French triple jump record holder

Saneiev retained his title at the Munich Games in 1972 and then Montreal in 1976 before winning the silver medal at the Moscow Games in 1980; defeated; he; the Georgian; by another Soviet; Jaak Uudmäe; originally from Estonia. Former French triple jump record holder Bernard Lamitié knew the Soviet champion well: -He was my partner; my friend; my idol; my unhappy brother. Jonathan Edwards marked the discipline but Saneiev changed it. When he got to ajournaltimepetition; everyone knew he was going to win. However; he was kept very simple; very polite to his opponents. When I had to do an internship for my diploma at Insep; I went to his home in the USSR. He received me at the Olympic center in Armenia as a friend of his. He the triple Olympic champion. He was extraordinarily humble. He inspired all triple jump jumpers. He had an incredible charisma. The first time I jumped with him was in Grenoble in 1972; I forgot to do it. I looked at Saneiev. I beat him once; not because he was better; but because he was wrong in his grades. It was very weird. Because his strength was consistency. I have immense respect. I did my thesis on him … He was a very tall man. He stayed that way; with the same smile; even when he was in trouble. “

Viktor Saneiev at the Moscow Olympic Games (L'Équipe)

Viktor Saneiev at the Moscow Olympic Games (L’Équipe)

In fact; when the Soviet Union disappeared in December 1991 and Soviet sport collapsed; Saneiev had to emigrate to Australia to find work. But when his contract ended; he had to do many jobs as a pizza delivery boy to feed his family. Before looking for a job as a coach.

He died at the age of 76.


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