Armand Duplantis, the new rockstar who defies all the limits of the pole vault

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The 20-year-old Swede is one of the figures in world sport, he does not stop breaking records and his future is immeasurable. The reasons for the phenomenon that athletics needed after the retirement of Usain Bolt.

In the midst of the scourge that the entire humanity lives during this 2020 by the pandemic, for international sport there is very little to celebrate. And one of the few spaces is the return of international level athletic competitions, for now under the same sanitary safeguards as other sports and with precise geographical areas (mainly in Europe).

One of the novelties of this mini-season, which saw the frustration or postponement of the Olympic illusions of so many athletes, is the appearance of a handful of super figures, which can become the most convincing of the next times.

We refer to some young Nordics as Norwegians Karsten Warholm (400 meters with hurdles) and Jakob Ingebrigtssen (midfielder) and the Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei, challenging Kenyans and Ethiopians over long distances.

And, of course, to this Swedish phenomenon – actually, originally and trained in the United States – called Armand Duplantis, who is revolutionizing one of the most attractive disciplines of his sport: pole vault.

Having set the absolute world record with 6.18 meters during indoor competitions in the European winter, now he is unbeatable in outdoor tests.

He has just set the best all-time mark in those conditions, with Thursday’s 6.15 in Rome, stripping the legendary Ukrainian. Sergey Bubka, vice president of the International Federation, of the last of his great records.

For the speed and ease of his movements, for the aura of ease with which he seems to move in the highest demands, for his competitive voracity and for his youth, Duplantis has all the tickets to make as much history as Bubka achieved. Of course, this will only be indicated by time, since it also faces a danger: excessive competition, saturation, the risk of “burning” stages. Nothing seems to stop it for now.

Bubka was the man who took pole vaulting to a new dimension, the first to make 6 meters a custom and the one who was able to establish 35 world brands throughout your entire campaign.

He won the world title five times, but was not so fortunate with the Olympic event: the Soviet boycott of Los Angeles deprived him of competing in 1984, when he was already unbeatable, and he was crowned just four years later in Seoul 1988 Surprisingly he was left “blank” for Barcelona 1992, an injury marginalized him from Atlanta 1996 and he was fired in Sydney 2000.

Bubka got his heirs to lose all respect for him at 6 meters, a mark that until a few decades earlier had appeared in another galaxy. And new names came, like the Australian Steve Hooker or, more recently, French Renaud Lavillenie, one of the true inspirers of Duplantis feats.

“I think I’m still in the clouds right now. It’s just one of those feelings that you’re dreaming about a little bit. All of this seems surreal. It’s a super crazy feeling when everything lines up like this and you do a very good performance, “said the Swede, after going through 6.15 in Rome.

“He already had the world record since last winter, but he also had ambitions for the best outdoor brand,” he added.

He only has one obsession, almost immediate: olympic gold. Meanwhile, its image and its attraction may be the emblem of world athletics today.

Between February 8 and 15, 2020, Duplantis – popularly known as “World”And for many the“ Mozart ”of his sport – he twice beat the absolute world record for pole vault.

First he did it at the indoor track meeting in Torun, Poland, the city of Copernicus, where he reached 6 meters and 17 centimeters, and on Saturday 15 at the Emirates Arenas stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, where he reached 6.18, so the “stratospheric barrier” of 6.20 was there … so close.


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