Pole vault: Duplantis, so young and already so high

[Mise à jour : Duplantis a franchi les 6,18 m le samedi 15 février à Glasgow]

Renaud Lavillenie is no longer a record holder in the world of pole vault. The French athletics star, who had the best world performance of all time since February 2014, when he jumped 6.16 m in Donetsk under the eyes of former record holder Sergei Bubka, passes his hand to the star rising specialty: Armand Duplantis, 20 years old. The latter, although born and raised in the United States (in Lafayette, Louisiana), competes under the colors of Sweden, his mother’s country. Duplantis, nicknamed “Mondo” in the narrow circle of athletics, passed the 6.18m mark in Glasgow on Saturday. He had already crossed the 6.17 m barrier at the indoor meeting in Torun, Poland, a week earlier. The performance of the young man with “normal” physique – 68 kilos for 1.81 m – is not really a surprise. Tuesday, in a meeting in Germany, he attacked the Lavillenie record and failed by nothing.

In the garden of the house

Armand Duplantis presents the typical CV of the prodigy of his discipline, to which he was initiated by his father and coach since his earliest childhood. He indeed started to panic the counters of the specialty at 10 years old. The son of Greg Duplantis and Helena Hedlund, a former volleyball player and heptathlete, and now her fitness trainer, began his jumping career in the garden of the family home. At 10, he crossed 3.86m, the world record for this age category. Passionate about the specialty are beginning to scrutinize the gestures of the child acrobat on YouTube. The father himself is a former American pole vaulter, capable of jumping 5.80m from the top of his 1.68m. It is perhaps thanks to the size of his father that the son drew his greatest strength: technique. When you don’t have a Superman physique, you have to bet everything on it, essential on the acrobatic part and speed. Qualities probably worked to nausea by Greg Duplantis and his son.

Duplantis displays perfect mastery of the different parts of which a pole vault consists. For the average viewer, this very complex exercise may seem easy and almost natural: but it is the mark of the virtuoso to give this impression. From this point of view, Duplantis has a lot in common with Renaud Lavillenie, his young idol, with whom he shared a few jumping sessions and long discussions about their sport.

Provider, athlete, tightrope walker

Just watch his jumps, for example at the European Championships in Berlin in August 2018, where at just 18 years old (still a junior then), he won one of the most distinguished contests in the history of this championship. At an Olympic stadium in Berlin, during an interminable summer evening, Duplantis had to pull from his hat of conjurer-athlete-tightrope walker a jump to 6.05 m, while the final seemed to end at 5.95 m. This measurement represented at the time his personal best and also the junior world record. Second place was for the young Russian Timur Morgunov (6.00 m), meteor of the discipline, while the bronze medal went to an always combative Renaud Lavillenie at the beautiful altitude of 5.95 m, which in most old editions would have given right to the highest step of the podium.

At the world championships in Doha, at the beginning of October 2019, Duplantis wins “only” the money behind another ace in the discipline, the American Sam Kendricks, in a competition not frankly high-flying: 5.97 m for Kendricks and Duplantis , the American winning the number of tries at 5.92 m. In Qatar, the Swede had appeared a bit sprained, perhaps because of the string of meetings which had made up his season. Saturday in Torun, on the second attempt at 6.17 m, Duplantis agreed with all of their opponents: he is now the boss of the discipline.

Luca Endrizzi


Armand Duplantis beats the pole vault world record | sports

There is no recourse more abused than to proclaim the Mozart something to anyone who stands young in any activity, and arouses the admiration of all. After Jacques Anquetil, however, there is no person who deserves that worn out name, to be called Mozart, that Armand Mondo Duplantis, the pole virtuoso who has broken the world record, has jumped 6.17 meters, only three months After having turned 20 years old.

Its jump, the last of a series of six on the flat track, without platform, of the meeting of Torun (Poland), the city of Copernicus and the turn of its planets, occurs six years after the 6.16m with which the French Renaud Lavillenie finished on February 23, 2014, in Donetsk (Ukraine), with the 6.15 meters that the Ukrainian Serguei Bubka had set in 1993 with what was considered, so impossible it seemed to overcome it, the measure of Limits of the human being. For the generation of athletes born with the turn of the century, such as the cyclist Evenepoel, the limits, however, are a gas issue, an invention of the faint hearted.

Perhaps, although right now it seems exaggerated, within all those prodigious people who do seemingly inexplicable, great things, we must call them the Duplantis of life. Because nobody doubts that Duplantis is a genius. A blond and light-looking kid (1.81m, 79 kilos), almost contraindicated for a discipline that requires barbarism, such as accelerating the race to more than 10 meters per second, carrying a rod more than five meters long and which seems to weigh 25 kilos, seized from the tip, which must pin precisely into a minimum box, and fold it to launch it like a catapult; and then, do stunts to turn around in the air over the bar. Any pertiguista tells that any person on the street to whom you give a pole would be unable to keep it horizontal by its end for a few seconds.

Duplantis began its contest at 5.52m, which went to the first, such as 5.72m, 5.92m and 6.01m. He then asked for 6.17m, which went on to the second, after knocking the first thighs down. “I just have to grab the pole a little higher,” he said, totally relaxed, cold and aware of his ability.

“We are witnessing an athletic milestone difficult to explain,” says specialist Jon Karla Lizeaga, coach of Naroa Agirre, who hours after watching the video of the jump of the record again and again, continues with his mouth open. “Duplantis is breaking all technical models and biomechanical studies, and calls into question some theories of the most purists, obsessed with performing the technique determined by the” Soviet school “with Petrov in the lead. This boy jumps his way, instinctively. The most remarkable is its naturalness and freshness. It is not an imitable model as Bubka was, so obsessed with technical details. It is what is called a genius, who laughs and enjoys, and seems oblivious to any pressure. ” And, above, it is a classic that respects history and myths. Lizeaga says that in his jump over 6.17m, Duplantis used a Spirit fiberglass pole manufactured in Carlson City (Nevada). “It is the same type of pole that Bubka used in his day and later Lavillenie. There are more modern and lighter fiberglass poles but this extraterrestrial does not need it, ”continues the technician. “It has a 5.14m grip that is very similar to the one Bubka used in its best version. Today he used a pole of 210 pounds of hardness, as hard as it is, but he needed it considering that it arrives with such speed and strength that other poles were soft and thrown against the bar.

Duplantis was born in Louisiana (United States) on November 10, 1999, of an American father, a pertiguist as well, and a Swedish heptathlete mother, the nationality with which he competes. He was born, and is not a metaphor with a pole under his arm. “It’s something I wanted to do since I was three years old,” he said as soon as he jumped to the second level, which only he had tried before, a few days ago, in Düsseldorf (Germany). “It’s not a bad way to start such an important year, with the Games there.” At nine, Duplantis, trained and encouraged by his father, Greg, a 5.80m pertiguist, was already jumping 2.89m; Since that age he was already marking the best world brands every year of his life. 4.60m at 14; 5.30 at 15; 5.51 (current youth world record) at 16; 5.90 at 17; 6.05m at 18 (current junior world record), and 6.17m at 20. He is European champion and runner-up in the world. In Tokyo, he will probably be Olympic champion.

“Everyone expects it, everyone wants it, everyone knows what he will do,” said the eve of the record Lavillenie, his dear friend, the colleague with whom he has shared workouts at his home in Clermont Ferrand and experiences despite being the rival, the boy, who was going to dethrone him. “We only have to know where and when.” Less than 24 hours later I already had the answer, and when I get it, Duplantis already has perplexed the prophets, the specialists who decided that, calculating strength, speed, length and hardness of the poles, the limit of the human being is 6.20m . Everyone already knows, then, what is the next challenge of Mozart, no, of the Duplantis of the pole, the genius who is only three centimeters from it.

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Duplantis breaks world pole record and erases Lavillenie

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.