Władysław Kozakiewicz was born to a Polish family living next to Vilnius in Lithuania. He became one of the top pole vaulters of the 1970s, culminating in his 1980 Olympic gold medal. Kozakiewicz was European Indoor champion in 1977 and 1979, and at the outdoor Europeans, he placed second in 1974 and fourth in 1978, also winning the Universiade in 1977 and 1979. He was ranked in the world top 10 every year from 1973-82, and was ranked #1 in the world in 1975, 1977, 1979, and 1980. His Olympic title was won with a world record, his second of 1980, in front of a hostile Mockva (Moscow) crowd. After his winning jump, he saluted the crowd with an "up yours" gesture, later known in Poland as "Gest Kozakiewicza (Kozakiewicz's Gesture)", with the picture being shown virtually everywhere, including on the cover of Track & Field News. The Soviet ambassador to Poland, Boris Aristov, demanded that the IOC remove the gold medal because of this act, but nothing was done, and he was elected Polish Sportsman of the Year for 1980. In 1985 Kozakiewicz emigrated to West Germany, where he twice became German champion and worked as a pole vault coach. After the fall of Communism, Kozakiewicz eventually settled in his native Lithuania.
Personal Bests: PV – 5.78 (1980); Dec – 7692 (1977).
Athlete Olympic Results Content
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