Viktor Saneyev
Saneyev c. 1972
Personal information
Full nameViktor Danilovich Saneyev
Виктор Данилович Санеев
ვიქტორ სანეევი[1]
Born(1945-10-03)3 October 1945[2]
Sokhumi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union[2]
Died3 January 2022(2022-01-03) (aged 76)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height188 cm (6 ft 2 in)[1]
Weight78 kg (172 lb)[1]
CountrySoviet Union
EventTriple jump
ClubDynamo Sukhumi
Dinamo Tbilisi
Achievements and titles
Personal best17.44 m (1972)[1]
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing  Soviet Union
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1968 Mexico City Triple jump
Gold medal – first place 1972 Munich Triple jump
Gold medal – first place 1976 Montreal Triple jump
Silver medal – second place 1980 Moscow Triple jump
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 1969 Athens Triple jump
Gold medal – first place 1974 Rome Triple jump
Silver medal – second place 1971 Helsinki Triple jump
Saneyev c. 1968

Viktor Danilovich Saneyev (Russian: Виктор Данилович Санеев; Georgian: ვიქტორ სანეევი; 3 October 1945 – 3 January 2022) was a Georgian triple jumper who competed internationally for the USSR. He won four Olympic medals – three golds (1968, 1972 and 1976) and one silver (1980). Saneyev set the world record on three occasions. He was born in Sukhumi, Georgian SSR, trained in Sukhumi and Tbilisi,[3] and died in Sydney.

Athletics career

Saneyev was born into a poor Russian family in 1945, with a disabled and paralyzed father who died when Saneyev was 15 years old.[4] He took up 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 – Schoolchildren's Spartakiad.[5]

His first major success came in 1968, when he won both the USSR Championships and the 1968 Summer Olympics, where on 17 October he set the World Record twice, 17.23 m and 17.39 m.[6][7] On the same date four years later, in Sukhumi, Saneyev improved the World Record to 17.44 m.[6] He won gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics[8] and at the 1976 Summer Olympics[9] and a silver at the 1980 Summer Olympics.[10]

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

1980 Olympics

Main article: Athletics at the 1980 Summer Olympics – Men's triple jump

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 of Brazil. 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 Australia's Ian Campbell were discarded, as well as four jumps by De Oliveira; Uudmäe had two fouls and Saneyev one.[11] All IAAF inspectors were pulled out of the field on the day of the triple jump final and replaced by Soviet staff.[12]

Both Campbell and De Oliveira jumped beyond Uudmäe's leading mark more than once, but all of these jumps were discarded despite protests.[13][14] The longest of Campbell's jumps[14] was ruled a "scrape" foul: the officials claimed his trailing leg had touched the track during the step phase,[13][15] though it was unlikely to scrape and jump that far.[13][15] 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.


He was awarded the 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.[16]

Later life and death

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 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.[17][18]

Saneyev had graduated from the Georgian State University of Subtropical Agriculture and Tbilisi State University,[18] and enjoyed growing subtropical plants in his backyard, including lemons and grapefruits.[4] He died on 3 January 2022, at the age of 76.[19][20]


  1. ^ a b c d Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Viktor Saneyev". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  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 "Viktor Sanayev Biography". 2022. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Athletics at the 1968 Mexico City Summer Games: Men's Triple Jump". Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  8. ^ "Athletics at the 1972 Munich Summer Games: Men's Triple Jump". Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Montreal 1976 triple jump men Results - Olympic athletics". Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Athletics at the 1980 Moscow Summer Games: Men's Triple Jump". Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  11. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Athletics at the 1980 Moskva Summer Games: Men's Triple Jump". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  12. ^ Dunaway, James (20 July 2008). "In 1980, the Soviets Turned the Olympics Into the Games of Shame". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  13. ^ a b c Siukonen, Markku; et al. (1980). Urheilutieto 5 (in Finnish). Oy Scandia Kirjat Ab. pp. 363–364. ISBN 951-9466-20-7.
  14. ^ a b "Suomalainen näkökulma Moskovan olympiakisoihin sanomalehdistössä kesällä 1980" (PDF) (in Finnish). Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  15. ^ a b Lane, Tim (18 August 2013). "Cheating the only conclusion you can jump to". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Three-time Olympic triple jump champion Saneyev dies". 3 January 2022. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  17. ^ Forrest, Brad. "Viktor Saneyev". St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, 31 March 1998. Archived 13 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ a b Three-time WILL (in Russian) Novaya Gazeta, 24 July 2006
  19. ^ "Triple jump great Saneyev dies". World Athletics. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  20. ^ Viktor Saneyev, three-time Olympic triple jump champion, dies at 76

Further reading

Records Preceded byGiuseppe GentileNelson PrudêncioPedro Pérez Men's triple jump world record holder 1968-10-171968-10-17 – 1971-08-051972-10-17 – 1975-10-15 Succeeded byNelson PrudêncioPedro PérezJoão Carlos de Oliveira