Where will pole vaulter Armand Duplantis’ crazy rise end? “I want to raise the world record as high as possible before the end of my career” The 23-year-old athlete, author of his first planetary record of the year (6.22 m) during an indoor competition on February 25 in Clermont-Ferrand, had been trying to cross 6.23 m since June 4, in Hengelo, during his second outing of the summer.
Duplantis, THE star of the Van Damme Memorial: “Does pole vault seem easy to me? That’s the biggest compliment”
He tried again on July 2 in Stockholm, then on August 26 at the World Championships in Budapest, on August 31 in Zurich and on September 8 in Brussels, where he narrowly failed.
Before achieving his goals in Oregon, where the atmospheric conditions (22°C, 51% humidity and little wind) were ideal and where he quickly found the right technical setup.
The most American Swede (he has both passports), who would have wanted to offer a world record to the spectators of the Van Damme Memorial, learned the lesson of what had played against him that night: reduce his competition to the minimum number of attempts (not even 5, 92 m nor 6.10 m as in the King Baudouin stadium), Magic Mondo gave itself every chance to achieve it.
Things are easier when you can show up fresh against the world record.
And, after having surpassed 5.62 m, 5.82 m, and 6.02 m as in training, he was rewarded in the first attempt at 6.23 m, although the bar shook after having lightly touched it with his knees.
The magic of Hayward Field
“It was a shorter competition and therefore more fun for me,” explains the current Olympic champion, coached by his parents Greg and Helena. Things are easier when you can show up fresh against the world record. The format of this Diamond League final (Editor’s note: seven pole vaulters competing, including our compatriot Ben Broeders, 6th with 5.52 m) was ideal for me and I had very good jumps.”
The inspiration that guided Duplantis to his first world title, in 2022 at the magnificent Hayward Field venue, famous for its magic and where he surpassed 6.21 m, did not abandon him on his return to the small university in the city.
“It’s a combination of many factors, but this place has absolutely everything: the historic feel, the modern feel, the track is really fast, the crowd and the energy are fantastic. “All of this is what I need to be able to break the world record,” says the native of Lafayette, Louisiana, who now has well-rounded shoulders and a few more pounds of muscle than when he debuted as a senior.
Armand Duplantis, who has not lost his speed qualities, already holds seven world records, inaugurated on February 8, 2020, with a jump of 6.17 m that allows him to succeed one of his idols, Renaud Lavillenie. An evolution centimeter by centimeter, in the style of Sergei Bubka, which brings him great benefits and above all allows him, given his age and his technical ability, to consider one day crossing 6.30 m.
“My limit is even greater,” he said after receiving the Diamond League winner’s trophy. I hope I can continue jumping well and raise the bar even higher. At the end of my career, I want to raise the world record as high as possible, as high as I can jump.”
Right now I can’t think about anything other than enjoying this moment.
For him, who has practiced this discipline since he was little, pole vaulting is a kind of second nature.
“I love pole vaulting and have been doing it for a long time,” Duplantis smiles. If I can take the discipline to another level and if I can attract as many eyes as possible by jumping high, then I will have done my part of the job. I’m happy to be where I am now and I’m going to continue to build on that. But, right now, I’m really not thinking about anything other than enjoying this moment and what I just did. It’s a great way to end the season!
And also a great way to prepare for the next Olympic year…