Sergei Bubka of the Soviet Union set a world indoor pole vault record of 19 feet 5 3/4 inches Friday night at the Los Angeles Times-GTE Indoor Games at the Forum.
It was Bubka's first victory of the year over former record-holder Billy Olson in their ongoing competition for pole vault supremacy.
Olson, who held the record of 19-5 1/2 (all indoor world records are unofficial), was second at 18-10 1/4. He missed twice at 19-5 3/4. Bubka neatly cleared the height on his second attempt.
"I think he's a very strong athlete, but only indoors," Bubka said of Olson. "He has set a number of world records indoors , and I'll never disparage that."
Asked about the bad feelings between the two that began when he said Olson "wouldn't know which way to go on the runway" at a real championship meet, Bubka said, "From my side, there will not be any more. But from his side, I really don't know."
After his two misses at 19-5 3/4, Olson wanted the bar raised two centimeters to 19-6 1/2, but the Soviet delegation protested, saying that the bar, under the rules, would have to go up at least three centimeters. The bar was raised four centimeters to 19-7 1/2.
The discussion still was going on long after the meet ended. In any case, Olson took his final vault at 19-7 1/2 and went under the bar. Bubka, the outdoor world record-holder at 19-8 1/4, declined to make an attempt at the height.
The indoor world record in the event has been broken eight times this season -- four times by Olson, three times by Bubka and once by Joe Dial, who was only able to clear 18-0 1/2 Friday night.
Most of the vaulters will move on to the San Diego Sports Arena and the Michelob Invitational this afternoon, but Bubka hinted he may not compete. "The competition in San Diego is of no importance to me," he said. "Probably I won't even take part in it." He did not elaborate, although a meet organizer later said the leader of the Soviet track delegation told him Bubka would compete.
Another world record was established when Diane Dixon ran 1:02.29 in the women's 500 yards, bettering the record of 1:02.3 (hand-timed) set by Valerie Brisco-Hooks a year ago.
Jeannette Bolden equaled the world indoor record in the women's 60-yard dash with a time of 6.44. Evelyn Ashford, who was not entered in the meet, had set the record four years ago.