Armand Duplantis of Sweden wrote the history of athletics by breaking the world record pole vault at only 20 years old with a 6.17m indoor jump in Torun (Poland) on Saturday. Duplantis, true prodigy of his sport, erased the record of his idol who became his mentor, the Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie, while he himself was in the middle of a competition in Rouen, but failed to cross a single bar ( three failures at 5.64 m). Armand Duplantis thus inscribes his name in the legend of the sport having jumped higher than the Ukrainian “Tsar” Sergei Bubka (6.15 m in 1993) and that the 2012 French Olympic champion who had succeeded 6.16 m in February 2014.
Born and raised in the United States, but representative of Sweden in international competition, his mother’s country, Duplantis shares many common points with Renaud Lavillenie. Like the 2012 Olympic champion, he has had a jumper in the family garden (for 16 years!) And has bathed in this midfielder since always: his father and trainer holds a record at 5.80 m while his little sister and the one of his older brothers are also pole vaulters
Like Renaud Lavillenie, Armand Duplantis is thin and has a rather “light” size (1.81 m) for this sport which combines power and speed to bend the pole and be propelled above the bars. The Swede has however thickened since his explosion in 2017 (5.90 m at 17 years old), under the guidance of his mother, ex-heptathlete, who is his physical trainer. As soon as he crossed his bar on Saturday, “Mondo” rushed into the stands of Torun to hug him.
Boy in a hurry
Close to the Lavillenie clan, Duplantis came to Clermont-Ferrand several times to share sessions with the French. The latter had broken the record in Donetsk (Ukraine) ahead of Sergei Bubka, and had to secretly hope that Duplantis would do the same in Clermont-Ferrand on February 23 during the All star perche, competition organized by him.
But “Mondo” Duplantis, who almost erased 6.17 m as early as Tuesday in Düsseldorf (Germany), has always been a busy boy. Holder of numerous unofficial world records in the youth categories, he became senior European champion at only 18 years old in Berlin in August 2018 after a fantastic competition (6.05m). Last October, after a season where he had crossed the legendary 6 m mark several times, he became vice-world champion in Doha (Qatar) with a jump to 5.97 m, beaten by the ‘American Sam Kendricks. Just over five months from the Tokyo Olympics, Duplantis landed Saturday as the big favorite for the supreme title.