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Viktor Danilovich Saneyev (Georgia (country) ვიქტორ სანაევი born 3 October 1945) is a retired triple jumper, who competed internationally for the USSR and won four Olympic medals; three golds (1968, 1972 and 1976) and one silver (1980). He was born in Sukhumi, Georgian SSR, and trained in Sukhumi and later in Tbilisi.[3]

Viktor Saneyev
Viktor Saneyev c1972.jpg
Viktor Saneyev c. 1972
Personal information
Full nameViktor Danilovich Saneyev ვიქტორ სანეევი[1]
NationalityGeorgia (country)
Born (1945-10-03) 3 October 1945 (age 74)[2]
Sukhumi, Georgian SSR, USSR.[2]
Height188 cm (6 ft 2 in)[1]
Weight78 kg (172 lb)[1]
CountrySoviet Union Georgia (country)
Event(s)Triple jump
ClubDynamo Sukhumi
Dynamo Tbilisi
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)17.44 m (1972)[1]
Saneyev c. 1968

Athletics careerEdit

Saneyev was born in a poor family, with disabled and paralyzed father who died when Saneyev was 15 years old.[4] Saneyev took athletics in 1956, training in the high jump at the Gantiadi boarding school; his first coach was Akop Kerselyan. Six years later Kerselyan advised him to specialize in the triple jump. In 1963 Saneyev finished third in his first All-Union competition – Schoolchildrens' Spartakiad[5]

The major success came in 1968, when he won at the USSR Championships and at the 1968 Summer Olympics, where on 17 October he set the World Record twice: to 17.23 m and to 17.39 m.[6] On the same date four years later Saneyev set the World Record once again, now in Sukhumi, to 17.44 m.[6] He won gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics and at the 1976 Summer Olympics and a silver at the 1980 Summer Olympics.

He also won at the 1969 European Championships, 1974 European Championships, at the 1970, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1976 and 1977 European Athletics Indoor Championships. Saneyev was the USSR Champion in 1968–71, 1973–75 and 1978.[3]

1980 OlympicsEdit

Saneyev came to the 1980 Olympics hoping for a fourth gold medal, though he understood that several jumpers had better chances for a gold, especially the world record holder João Carlos de Oliveira. Soviet Jaak Uudmäe won the gold medal (17.35 m), followed by Saneyev (17.24 m) and Oliveira (17.22 m). The event was marred by controversial judging. Five out of seven jumps by Ian Campbell were discarded, as well as four jumps by Oliveira; Uudmäe had two fouls and Saneyev one.[7] All IAAF inspectors were pulled out of the field on the day of the triple jump final and replaced by Soviet staff.[8]

Both Campbell and de Oliveira jumped beyond Uudmäe's leading mark more than once, but all of these jumps were discarded despite protests.[9][10] The longest Campbell's jumps[10] was ruled a "scrape" foul: the officials claimed his trailing leg had touched the track during the step phase,[9][11] though it was unlikely to scrape and jump that far.[9][11] Saneyev did not contest his foul, though it also fell on his strongest jump. He later noted that the winning jump by Uudmäe was likely overstepped.[4]


Saneyev retired after the 1980 Olympics, and was much congratulated well before that: he was awarded Order of the Red Banner of Labour in 1969, Order of Lenin in 1972 and Order of Friendship of Peoples in 1976.[3] At the 1980 Games he was selected as an Olympic torch bearer, though this honor is usually given to retired athletes.[4] In retirement, he headed the USSR jumping team for four years, and later worked at his formative club, Dynamo Tbilisi.

In the early 1990s, after the Soviet Union broke up and a civil war started in Georgia, Saneyev lost his job, and moved to Australia with his wife and 15-year-old son. His brief coaching contract soon expired, and Saneyev was about to sell his Olympic medals to feed his family. He reconsidered at the last moment and took odd jobs instead, such as pizza delivery. He finally found a regular job as a physical education teacher at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, and later as the jumping coach at the New South Wales Institute of Sport.[12][13]

Saneyev graduated from the Georgian State University of Subtropical Agriculture and Tbilisi State University,[13] and thus enjoys growing subtropical plants in his backyard, including lemons and grapefruits.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Viktor Saneyev". Sports Reference LLC.
  2. ^ a b "Viktor Saneyev". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Boris Khavin (1979). All about Olympic Games (in Russian) (2nd ed.). Moscow: Fizkultura i sport. p. 577.
  4. ^ a b c d Виктор Санеев: от прыжков я получал удовольствие. (Interview in Russian). 29 June 2015
  5. ^ E. B. Chen (1978). Viktor Saneyev. Heroes of the Olympic Games (in Russian). Moscow: Fizkultura i sport. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
  6. ^ a b World Record Progression – Triple Jump. IOC
  7. ^ Athletics at the 1980 Moskva Summer Games: Men's Triple Jump.
  8. ^ Dunaway, James (20 July 2008). "In 1980, the Soviets Turned the Olympics Into the Games of Shame". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Siukonen, Markku; et al. (1980). Urheilutieto 5 (in Finnish). Oy Scandia Kirjat Ab. pp. 363–364. ISBN 951-9466-20-7.
  10. ^ a b "Suomalainen näkökulma Moskovan olympiakisoihin sanomalehdistössä kesällä 1980" (PDF) (in Finnish). Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  11. ^ a b Lane, Tim (18 August 2013). "Cheating the only conclusion you can jump to". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  12. ^ Forrest, Brad. "Viktor Saneyev". St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, 31 March 1998.
  13. ^ a b Three-time WILL (in Russian) Novaya Gazeta, 24 July 2006

Further readingEdit

E. B. Chen (1978). Viktor Saneyev. Heroes of the Olympic Games (in Russian). Moscow: Fizkultura i sport. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2007.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Giuseppe Gentile
Nelson Prudêncio
Pedro Pérez
Men's triple jump world record holder
1968-10-17 – 1971-08-05
1972-10-17 – 1975-10-15
Succeeded by
Nelson Prudêncio
Pedro Pérez
João Carlos de Oliveira