Competing in the high jump, he won the 1987 World Indoor Championships as well as a silver medal at the 1987 World Championships for the USSR. His personal best jump of 2.41 metres (7.9 feet) was also the world record from 4 September 1985 to 30 June 1987, when Patrik Sjöberg beat it by one centimetre. His leap of 2.41 m (7 ft 11 in) places him as the fifth highest jumper in history. Like all modern high jumpers, Paklin used the Fosbury Flop style, and he was the first to do so jumping off his right leg.
In 1996, Paklin was imprisoned for beating a business partner to death.