You wouldn’t say Armand “Mundo” Duplants is one of the world’s greatest athletes when you see him walking in the middle of Hayward Square. He has a somewhat crooked back and does not look very muscular among other athletes on the athletics track. Yet he is a great figure in sports. Show why in the pole vault final.
He has already eliminated all his competitors at an altitude of 6.00 meters. Christoper Nielsen from the United States came in second, ahead of Filipino Ernest John Obiena. Both are stuck at a height of 5.94 metres. But Duplantis is not over yet. After everyone had already put down their sticks, he flew over 6.06. It was a leap to rank management. No one had ever surpassed 6.05 in a World Cup and Duplantis thought such a championship record could not be sneeze.
He wasn’t full yet. Moments later, he made officials in white shirts raise the bar to 6.21 metres. He wanted to crown his world title with a new world record, the old 6.20 was already. Although he did jump in those indoors, his record was 6.16 outdoors, but it was nonetheless in the books as the overall world record.
The fans sat in the stands for a moment when they saw the bar slowly but surely rising to 6.21 metres. After Toby Amosan’s world record in the 100m hurdles earlier that evening, spectators were craving another treat. The chance of the current Olympic champion making it was also high. He’s done this many times over the years.
The cameras focused on themselves
His first attempt failed, Duplantis cut his flight midway and bowed under the crossbar. Then, while the women’s 4x400m race ended with an American victory and he had the pitch to himself, he succeeded. With a graceful arc he flew over the bar, an inch higher than his old record. He did just that last winter at the World Indoor Championships. There, too, he made sure to remove the cameras aimed at him.
Despite its rather inconspicuous appearance, Duplantis is a real showman. After his record jump, he ran toward the stands and after a few dollars, he did a somersault in front of the frenetic crowd. Then he wrapped himself in the Swedish flag and danced on the court in his raised white socks.
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Duplantis also does the math. He likes to raise his world records a little bit at a time. One extra centimeter. That’s why he kept it at 6.21, although it was clear from his jump that he could climb higher. But this would be inconvenient from a financial point of view. With each record he can look forward to a huge bonus. I earned him $100,000 in the World Cup.
The crawl has copied inch by inch from Serhij Boebka. The Ukrainian dominated the sport in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was one of the few who regularly rose above 6 meters, but they made sure that he did not do so with very large bites. He started outdoors in 1985 with a 5.85 and finished ten years later with 6.14. Inside, it was an inch higher. Records remain until 2020.
Duplantis wears the yellow and blue uniform of Sweden, but this can also be the blue of the United States. The father of the 23-year-old world champion Greg is an American who made it to 5.80 as a pole vaulter himself. His mother, Swedish Helena Hedlund, was an all-around player and volleyball player.
He chose to represent his motherland. The advantage of this was that he could avoid competition in the United States. This way he didn’t have to worry about Olympic trials, as his father’s Olympic dream came to an end in 1996. In his current form, this wasn’t an issue for Duplantis junior.
He lives in both countries: he splits his time between Louisiana and Sweden. He said last year that since he did it, he feels more and more like a real Swede.
It is the first time since 2011 that an Olympic champion can call himself a world champion. Australian Steve Hooker, the 2011 World Cup and Games 2008 winner, was the last.
Renaud Lavillenie, the 2012 gold medalist, has never managed to win the World Cup. The Frenchman was also present at this tournament, but he was nowhere near Duplantis. It stuck at 5.87 and finished fifth. It was even worse for Mino Flon, who had just qualified for the final on Friday, but was unable to reach his base height of 5.55m in the final fight.
Duplantis was also not the world champion. In 2019, American Sam Kendricks became champion for the second time. But only 20-year-old Duplants has already shown that he is the man of the future with silver. In the years that followed, he confirmed his status as the new Boebka, who has now earned a double badge with his Olympic and world titles.
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