What are the reasons for beating records and a desire to do better than those before you? We spoke about this aspect of human nature in Ukrainian context with authoritative Ukrainian sociologist Yevhen Holovakha, vice director of Institute of Sociology, Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences. Recently we were able to contact the main office of Guinness World Records. Here is a blitz interview with Craig GLENDAY, editor-in-chief of the world famous book of records. By the way, the press service informed The Day that the new edition of the Guinness World Records 2012 appears in the global sales starting September 15.
How would you explain people’s desire to beat records?
“The Guinness World Records exists to inspire ordinary people do extraordinary things. Anyone may become a part of this. Everyone wants to be best at something and Guinness World Records is a universal organization, which has exclusive authority to acknowledge records. Besides, there is a universal desire, inherent in men — to know your own place in the world, how much taller you are from the tallest person in the world or how much bigger is your apple compared to the biggest apple in the world. Those things don’t leave anyone indifferent.”
What countries are the most active in setting records these days? What are those records?
“Considering the number of applications filed for setting records and the records that were actually set, the leaders are two countries: the US and Great Britain. At the same time we noticed other interesting trends. Since we launched our first television show in Hindi in India, the number of applications filed from this country this year compared with the previous year increased by 83 percent. Thus, India became the third country by the number of record applications submitted. When it comes to the actual record breakers, the countries rich in records are Germany and Japan. Those countries rank respectively third and fourth position in the category ‘the greatest number of established world records.’”
What position does Ukraine rank according to your ratings? What do you thing of the attempts made by Ukrainian record-holders?
“At the present time Ukraine has 29 titles in Guinness World Records. The key trend for Ukraine is that most of the records are set as incredible athletic achievements. These include chess player Serhii Kariakin, who in August 12, 2002 became the world’s youngest grand master at the age of 12. One of them is also Pavlo Rezvoi who recived the title ‘the oldest person in the world to cross the ocean on his own.’ At the age of 66 he set off from the Cocos Islandson, Australia in the single rowing boat named ‘Ukraine’ (he began his trip on September 13, 2005) and on November 9, 2005 he reached the Mahe Island, Seychelles. Not to mention the fact that the most world records of track and field athletics (35) were set by the Ukrainian athlete Serhii Bubka in pole vault from 1984 through 1994. In his outstanding career Bubka broke 17 records in the open stadium and another 18 indoors. He still remains the record-holder in both disciplines. The longest triple jump was performed by Inessa Kravets from Ukraine. On January 10, 1995 in Gothenburg, Sweden she jumped to 15.5 meter.”
What trends have you noticed in the last 10 years?
“The interest in the Guinness World Records and beating the already set records is growing. Now we get more than a thousand applications a week and every year this number increases. Trends show that more and more records are established in sphere of technologies. Now we track records in social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, as well as technological progress in creating the lightest mobile phone with touch screen. Besides we have removed a lot of categories that we consider to be unacceptable. For example, we no longer register records in the category the heaviest pet or in extreme sports. We want to warn against attempts to set records causing harm to their health,” said the chief editor of the Guinness World Records in his comments for The Day.
TO THE POINT
The web site Maidan (http://maidan. org.ua) published an appeal signed by Viktor Hrabar, Natalka Zubar, and Oleksandr Severyn to the head of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Volodymyr Lytvyn asking to nominate the Parliament and individual MPs to the Guinness World Records. Nominations suggested to the head of the Parliament are as follows: “The parliament, whose members voted for the largest number of missing fellow deputies within one vote” and “parliamentarian who voted for the largest number of missing fellow deputies within one vote.” The authors explain their initiative for writing the address by the fact that “MPs who vote for 4 to 6 of missing fellow deputies have to be widely recognized and duly honored as they do something that can’t be repeated by their colleagues from other countries. Ukrainian citizens should be able to be proud of the record-breaking achievements of those they elected to the Parliament. As it is well-known, the outstanding achievements of Ukrainians are under-represented in the Guinness World Records and it would be unpatriotic to miss an opportunity to increase Ukraine’s presence among the world record-holders,” stated Hrabar, Zubar, and Severyn inviting the site visitors to sign the address.
We often find common grounds in many areas with our colleagues, but in this case we can’t really agree with them. We don’t believe that our internal problems, genealogy of which has been thoroughly explored, in particular, by the site Maidan, should be immortalized in world history. We have to solve those problems. It’s a doubtful suggestion to pour acid on the wounds that bleed. Following such thinking pattern we can claim the records in categories like “the greatest number of people killed in the 20th century by the representatives of the same nation.” Instead of unnecessarily exposing promiscuity of the Ukrainian society concerning those whom they vote for, we suggest to get to solving our internal problems more actively, in particular, to cultivate productive Ukrainian field.