Could it really be otherwise? The favorite in the pole vault final, Sweden’s Armand Duplantis soared above the competition to win the gold medal at the European Championships in Munich (Germany) on Saturday August 20. Thanks to a bar crossed at a height of 5.90 meters, he beat the German Bo Kanda Lita Baehre (2e) and the Norwegian Pal Haugen Lillefosse (3e).
He had not yet missed a single jump, that all his competitors were already eliminated. Moreover, he finished his competition without having knocked down the bar once. After having quietly launched his competition at 5.65 meters, the 22-year-old Swede easily passed 5.85 meters before putting on his blue parka and watching his competitors stumble at this height one after the other. Among them, the French Renaud Lavillenie (7e) and Thibaut Collet (5e), both unable to raise their level in the cold conditions of Munich (less than 20°C).
After passing the bars that acted as a warm-up for him, Duplantis had only one man on his way to a second European title: Bo Kanda Lita Baehre. Boosted by the support of his public, the German did not, despite everything, last long against Duplantis, disconcertingly easy to pass without any problem 5.90 meters then 5.95 meters. The race for the gold medal being heard, “Mondo” could attack the records.
A race that ultimately did not last long. Armand Duplantis was content to ask, and to pass with the same ease, a bar at 6.06 meters, to beat his own record for the European championships. Five jumps, a record, and the poles were put away without even trying for the world record.
From Germany to Germany
” Germany is such a special country for me, that’s something extraordinary, ”confided the champion to the microphone of France TV Sport a few minutes after his title. In 2018, Armand Duplantis indeed discovered the European Championships in Berlin with the label of the young prodigy brought to take over from the star of the discipline, the Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie.
In a dantesque competition, “Mondo” had beaten, jump after jump, his personal best, until winning the title with a last flight at 6.05 meters. A few seconds after his last bar crossed, the Swede did not seem to believe it on the mat, just like the spectators at the Olympic Stadium.
Four years later, track and field fans have learned to trivialize Duplantis’ exploits. The Swede was therefore back on Saturday at the European Championships, still in Germany. In the meantime, Berlin gave way to Munich, and the young athlete became an insatiable ogre with a track record making him the indisputable and undisputed star of his discipline.
It’s very simple, the Swede has won everything since that famous night in Berlin. After his revelation, the pole vaulter became, in 2021, European indoor champion, gold medalist at the Olympic Games and winner of the Diamond League (the annual and multi-stage world competition in athletics).
His only opponents: records
Only the world championships in Qatar and the American Sam Kendricks had resisted him in 2019. A “mistake of honors” restored in July 2022 when Armand Duplantis won the title at the worlds in Eugene, Oregon.
In the United States, the 22-year-old star also took the opportunity to raise his world record to 6.21 meters. A performance ” not bad “he had fun at the microphone of the stadium, aware that he has not yet touched, or even touched, his ceiling.
Because, in addition to collecting titles and medals, the native of Lafayette (Louisiana) did not wait long either to steal the world record from Renaud Lavillenie, which the Frenchman had raised to 6.16 meters in 2014.
Two years after his first European title, Armand Duplantis took advantage of a meeting in Poland in 2020 to soar to 6.17 meters and confirm once again that he was alone at the top of the pole vault. .
“To be honest, there are no surprises, explained Renaud Lavillenie to RMC Sport the evening he was stripped of his record. There was no reason for it not to fall quickly. I had the honor [d’avoir le record] for six years, I need not be disappointed. He has all the talent to surely do even better. It’s nice ! »
Since then, his Swedish rival has proved him right, taking great care to improve his mark centimeter after centimeter. If he did not try on Saturday to bring his world record even higher, it seems highly unlikely that he will not continue to push it in the years to come.