Athletics

Mondo Duplantis: "My whole life, I wanted that moment right there."

Swedish sensation reacts after setting a new pole vault world record at the World Athletics Indoor Tour in Torun, Poland.

By Andrew Binner ·

Mondo Duplantis set a new pole vault world record of 6.17m in Torun, Poland on Saturday (8 February).

The high-flying Swede missed by a whisker a few days ago in Dusseldorf, but at the World Athletics Indoor event he managed to add a centimetre to London 2012 gold medallist Renaud Lavillenie's previous mark from 2014.

European champion in 2018 and still only 20 years old, this has been the perfect start to Olympic year for Duplantis who is now the hot favourite to take gold at Tokyo 2020.

He told World Athletics, "It's something that I wanted since I was three years old. It's a big year, but it's a good way to start it."

"It's so crazy because my whole life, I wanted that moment right there." - Mondo Duplantis talking to World Athletics

Duplantis vaults into history

The competition was something of an exhibition for Duplantis with no other athlete going higher than 5.52m.

He cleared 5.72m, 5.92m and 6.01m, all on his first attempt, before asking for a height of 6.17m.

Duplantis just brushed off the bar with his first effort, but felt sure he would clear it before the night was out.

"After that first attempt, I thought, 'Yeah, I just need two more attempts at this and I got it'. I was pretty confident that I had it."

And on his second attempt, he feathered the bar again but this time it stayed in place to secure him his place in the history books.

Seoul 1988 gold medallist and six-time world champion Sergey Bubka was the first man to clear six metres and broke the pole vault world record 17 times in the 1980s and 90s.

He still holds the outdoor best of 6.14m, although Duplantis now has the absolute world record with indoor marks given the same status as outdoor vaults in 2000.

Bubka, who told Olympic Channel last year that he believed the new pole vault generation could achieve heights of up to 6.50m with "the right technique", was quick to congratulate his successor.

Duplantis lays down a marker in Olympic year

Incredibly, the 20-year-old's achievement came in just his second outing of the season.

And the way he cleared the bar suggests there could be more to come.

Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, Duplantis is the son of ex-pole vaulter Greg Duplantis and Swedish heptathlete Helena Hedlund.

'Mondo', christened Armand, chose to represent his mother's homeland ahead of the 2015 World Youth Championships in Colombia where he took gold.

He made his mark in the senior ranks by taking gold at the 2018 European Championships with a clearance of 6.05m to go number five on the all-time list.

Last October, he had to settle for silver at the Doha World Championships after an epic duel with reigning champion Sam Hendricks.

But Duplantis' record-breaking exploits make him the man to beat in Tokyo later this year.

For now, he's content to bathe in the glory of the moment.

“How do you explain a dream that's been a dream since you were three years old? It's a big dream, too. It's not a little dream. And it's a whole process building up to that moment. I can't really get my head around it." - Mondo Duplantis to World Athletics

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Stronger and fitter

One reason behind Duplantis' improvement this season is his change in physical composition.

After his near miss at Dusseldorf, he said, "Training's been going really well. I feel very fit, very in shape."

At such a young age, he is still filling out his frame with his upper body clearly bulkier than it was in Doha.

The world record holder is scheduled to compete again in Glasgow next Saturday (15 February).

All eyes will be on Duplantis to see if he can go even higher.

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