BUDAPEST, Hungary — Despite winning another gold medal, Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis wanted more. He always does.
Before leaving the stage at the world championships on Saturday, the outfielder known as “Mondo” had one request: raise the bar. He wanted three attempts to break his world record, one he continues to break over and over again.
This does not happen. He was just too exhausted from a heavy night. Still, it was a great theater and after Duplantis got up from the mat after his final attempt, he faced the crowd and bowed.
Duplantis added a second consecutive world title by clearing 6.10 meters (20 feet), fending off runner-up EJ Obiena of the Philippines. Australian Kurtis Marschall and American Christopher Nilsen shared the bronze.
“It was a lot of fun,” Duplantis said.
For him in any case, the reigning Olympic champion will go to Paris next summer.
“Will you ever let us win? Marshall snapped.
Duplantis gave a glimmer of hope to his competitors by announcing that he was considering switching to the long jump.
Of course he was joking.
The 23-year-old who grew up in Louisiana, went to LSU and competed for his mother’s home country of Sweden, took his sport to new heights. This is reflected in the performances at the world championships. All four medalists had to run at least 5.95 (19-6 1/4) just to bring home gear, the first time this has happened at the world championships in this event.
His main rivals agree on the same thing: the presence of Duplantis elevates the pole vault.
“Honestly, it’s a privilege to be out there with this guy because he’s pushing the sport to a level it’s never been before,” Marschall said. “We wouldn’t want to participate in another year of pole vaulting.”
Duplantis also made it so simple, much like the pole vaulting legend himself, Sergey Bubka. Upon hearing that Bubka had won six consecutive world titles, Duplantis just smiled.
“I think I still have a few more points to go, it seems, before I get to six,” Duplantis said. “I’ll probably worry around three, after three maybe four, before I start to get a little too far ahead of myself.”
Like Boubka before him, Duplantis is a record breaking machine. He has surpassed his own mark five more times since taking the record from Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie in February 2020.
Last year, on the very last jump of the very last world championship event in Oregon, he took his mark to 6.21 (20-3). Earlier this year, it raised it again to 6.22. He tried his luck with a score of 6.23 (20-4) on Saturday, but was left with nothing left after a grueling evening in which he landed all six jumps before his world record attempt.
“Today never really felt like a competition for a world record,” Duplantis said. “It was more of a pure competition and that’s how it can be.”
Duplantis has trained for times like this throughout his career. Growing up in Lafayette, Louisiana, his family owned a backyard pole vault complete with airstrip.
His life has also been well documented, with a feature film made about him called “Born to Fly”. »
The sport is always looking for the next big thing, someone to step up and dominate like Usain Bolt did in the sprints. Not only dominate, but also deliver captivating television.
Could a pole vaulter take on this kind of role?
“I can understand why people would want to watch pole vault because I think it’s super cool and exotic,” Duplantis said recently. “For everything else, I just try to jump as high as I can and I keep trying to push the limits of what’s possible for a pole vaulter.
“As long as I’m doing this, I think I’m doing my job.”
His competitors certainly appreciate his attention to the event.
“It’s cool to see Mondo jump high,” said Nilsen. “But it’s cool to see the exposure he has to the world.”
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