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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Incomparable Duplantis dreaming of ‘perfect’ vault

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Lievin, France—Swedish pole vault world record-holder Armand “Mondo” Duplantis says he is loving life and searching for the “perfect” jump.

Sweden’s Armand Duplantis fails to clear the bar as he competes in the men’s pole vault event during the ISTAF indoor athletics meeting in Berlin. AFP

As the US-born Olympic champion prepares for action at the Lievin indoor meet in northern France on Wednesday, he said he was still driving himself on, having collected the male World Athlete of the Year award in 2022 after winning the world title in a new world record of 6.21m.

“I just really enjoy what I’m doing. I really enjoy everything about it, the whole process. This whole thing is so fun. Doing this whole thing is still a dream,” said Duplantis.

“I proved a lot. I don’t think I have much more to prove to anybody, I just have to prove a little bit more to myself.”

Duplantis cleared 6.06m in Berlin last weekend but failed at three attempts to set a new world record of 6.22m.

It was proof once again that he has redefined this most technical of events.

At the age of 23, he has eclipsed many of the achievements of Sergey Bubka, the Ukrainian who dominated the event for over a decade and now fills a senior role in the sport’s governing body World Athletics.

Duplantis though insists that Bubka “probably had a greater career than I did, this far”.

“But I think if we were head to head, I think I would beat him a lot more times than he would beat me!”

The Swede spends his waking hours scheming about how to achieve the “perfect jump” that will push his record to a height that future generations will struggle to match.

“Who knows (when it will come)?” he said. “I don’t think I’ve done it yet, I think I’ve come close. I have to be really, really consistent on my running and on the pushing.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement in a few aspects of the jump. Hopefully it’s only the beginning of a long career that I’ll have, so I think I’ll be pushing some higher bars in the next few years.”

For now he is just relishing the noisy Lievin atmosphere, with bigger challenges looming ahead—such as the outdoor world championships in Budapest in August where he will seek to defend his world title.

“I love the track here, I love the feeling I have here, and I know it’s a place where you can jump higher,” he said.


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