Vasily Dmitrievich Kuznetsov

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Vasily Dmitrijewitsch Kuznetsov ( Russian Василий Дмитриевич Кузнецов , English transcription Vasiliy Kuznetsov ; born February 7, 1932 in Kalikino; † August 6, 2001 in Moscow ) was a Russian athlete who competed for the Soviet Union. With a height of 1.85 m, his competition weight was 83 kg.

Vasily Kuznetsov was the best European decathlete for a decade . As the only all-rounder ever, he won three European championship titles. He also won two bronze medals at the Olympic Games and twice improved the world record.

After his career, Kuznetsov was a research associate at the Sports University in Moscow. He died of cancer at the age of 69.


At the age of 22, Kuznetsov entered the 1954 European Championships in Bern. With 6752 points (7043 points according to the decathlon table valid since 1985) he won his first major title ahead of the Finn Torbjörn Lassenius with 6424 (6821) points.

At the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956 , the two Americans Milt Campbell won with 7937 (7565) points and Rafer Johnson with 7587 (7422) points gold and silver in front of Kuznetsov with 7465 (7730) points, with Kuznetsov in the pole vault and in the javelin throw achieved best individual performances of all participants. According to the table that is valid today, Kuznetsov would have won gold, but the results are hardly comparable, especially in the pole vault , the metal sticks used in 1956 can hardly be evaluated with the 1985 table, since the 1985 table takes into account the performance development with the glass fiber sticks that have been prevalent since 1961.

In May 1958, Kuznetsov in Krasnodar with 8014 (7653) points was the first decathlete to exceed the 8000 point mark according to the 1952 table. Two months later, an international match between the USA and the Soviet Union took place in Moscow. Rafer Johnson improved the world record with 8302 (7789) points and defeated Kuznetsov, who came to 7897 (7596) points. At the end of August 1958, the European Championships took place in Stockholm . Kuznetsov defended his title with 7865 (7697) points with a respectable lead over his Estonian teammate Uno Palu , who collected 7329 (7448) points.

One year after his first world record, Kuznetsov got the world record back from Rafer Johnson in May 1959. With 8357 (7839) points this performance should remain Kuznetsov's best. After 1957, Kuznetsov was at the top of the world rankings for the second time at the end of the 1959 season. In September, Kuznetsov increased the world record in pentathlon to 4006 (4051) points in Turin . Kuznetsov had already set world records in Kiev in 1956 with 3736 (3913) points and in 1958 in Nalchik with 3901 (4010) points. Also in 1959 he was named Europe's Sportsman of the Year by the Polish press agency Polska Agencja Prasowa (PAP) .

The decathlon at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome was dominated by the duel between Rafer Johnson, who had fought back the world record at the AAU championships with 8683 (7981) points, and the Taiwanese Yang Chuan-Kwang . Johnson won with 8392 (7901) points ahead of Yang with 8334 (7820) points. Kuznetsov confirmed his rank as the best European in third place with 7809 (7527) points.

In 1962 at the European Championships in Belgrade, Kuznetsov won his third consecutive European title. However, with 8026 (7770) points, he only had an extremely narrow lead over the German Werner von Moltke with 8022 (7786) points.

In Tokyo at the 1964 Olympic Games , Kuznetsov was seventh with 7569 (7454) points, but was only fifth-best European.

Vasily Kuznetsov was the Soviet decathlon champion from 1953 to 1960, 1962 and 1963, making him the most successful decathlete at Soviet championships. With ten titles in the same discipline, he is one of the most successful Soviet athletes ever.

In total, Kuznetsov took part in 43 decathlons in his career, in which he achieved 30 victories.

Top performances

  • 100 meters: 10.5 seconds (1959)
  • Long jump: 7.49 meters (1958)
  • Shot put: 15.51 meters (1960)
  • High jump: 1.93 meters ()
  • 400 meters: 48.6 seconds (1958)
  • 110 meter hurdles: 14.4 seconds (1956)
  • Discus throw: 52.00 meters (1959)
  • Pole vault: 4.47 meters (1964)
  • Javelin throw: 72.78 meters (1959)
  • 1500 meters: 4: 33.2 minutes (1963)
  • Decathlon: 7839 points (1959)


  • Manfred Holzhausen: world records and world record holder. Decathlon . Grevenbroich 2004
  • Peter Matthews (ed): Athletics 2002 . Worcester 2002 ISBN 1-899807-13-6
  • Ekkehard zur Megede: The Modern Olympic Century 1896-1996 Track and Field Athletics . Berlin 1999, published by the German Society for Athletics Documentation eV