Usain Bolt’s heir apparent? Meet Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis, the new star of track and field


Armand Duplantis competes for his mother’s homeland, Sweden, despite being born and raised within the US
Indoor Sizable Prix, Glasgow
Coverage:Stay BBC TV protection from 13:15-16:30 on BBC One and online, followed by a Red Button forum from 16:30-17:00

“I fabricate now not blame them for looking me to obtain a loopy occupation like Usain Jog. I will take a be taught about at and lift the sport as great as I’m in a position to and I know the handiest manner to fabricate that’s to soar no doubt excessive.”

Having taken pole vaulting to fresh heights with an global tale of 6.17m in Poland final weekend, Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis is addressing the quiz of whether or now not he would possibly maybe even be athletics’ subsequent Usain Jog.

Or now not it’s a enormous quiz – and on paper a honest bigger attach aside a quiz to for a 20-300 and sixty five days-outmoded athlete in his first 300 and sixty five days as a educated.

Nonetheless, Duplantis is now not your fashioned 20-300 and sixty five days-outmoded. As the son of an global-class pole vaulter (father Greg jumped 5.80m), Mondo has been pole vaulting since the age of three.

The Duplantis family house in Louisiana, USA, has had a pole vault house up within the lend a hand backyard.

With two older brothers to drag after, Mondo hit the ground running. His world tale in Poland final weekend came 13 years after his first – within the under-seven age class.

He holds the realm’s handiest imprint at each age degree from under-seven to under-12 after which from under-17 your complete manner to senior. But for a microscopic blip – he says, “14, 15 16 – those had been my minute awkward ages. I became quiet short” – the Swedish vaulter would obtain a brilliant sweep.

“Mondo always tells me how easy pole vault is. He no doubt became born to pole vault,” is how mother Helena describes her son’s skills. And she would possibly maybe quiet know.

Helena, a Scandinavian age-neighborhood tale holder within the heptathlon, is one share of Duplantis’ twin coaching house-up alongside husband Greg.

Greg Duplantis competed in pole vault’s golden expertise within the Eighties and Nineties when Sergey Bubka became breaking the realm tale for stress-free. Greg’s handiest became 5.80m, a imprint his youngest son surpassed when he became correct 17 with a jump of 5.90m in April 2017.

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Three years later, Mondo is in Glasgow earlier than Saturday’s Indoor Sizable Prix and quiet coming to phrases with including 27 centimetres to that imprint – and catapulting himself into the role of Jog’s heir obvious

“The location I am in, I never no doubt imagined, of us talking to me about main your complete sport of note and self-discipline? I am correct a pole vaulter, it’s this form of abnormal and uncommon match,” says Mondo – who despite being born and raised in The US chose to compete for his mother’s homeland Sweden.

“I cherish your complete attention it’s getting on yarn of I cherish pole vaulting. To place pole vaulting on the plan correct for a second is a dream come correct. The handiest manner to continue to fabricate that’s to soar no doubt excessive.

“But as a ways as carrying the sport I cannot relate too great about that – I’ve obtained too many opponents to trouble about.”

Heading that listing is Sam Kendricks – the American who took gold sooner than Duplantis’ silver at the World Championships in Doha final 300 and sixty five days.

While Duplantis became confidently conserving court with the realm’s press to preview in Glasgow, Kendricks became quietly scoping out the Emirates Arena on his obtain within the background.

The sphere champion impulsively diminished to a supporting role.

Armand is the son of world-class pole vaulter Greg Duplantis

Does Kendricks reflect Mondomania will rush to his head? “I fabricate now not reflect it will commerce him – he’s obtained two older brothers, nothing like this can commerce him,” he says.

“Imagine you had been taking a check and it decides whether or now not you might maybe possibly very neatly be going to safe into school or now not. Most of us would possibly maybe be no doubt centered nonetheless Mondo is assured ample to grab, ‘I’ve studied for this check for a extremely very lengthy time, this check is in my blood’.”

It undoubtedly is. It is miles the family replace. Talking to mother Helena, her kids’s pole vault personal bests roll off the tongue nearly as hasty as their ages: Andreas, 26, 5.42m; Antoine (now taking part in baseball with the Contemporary York Mets), 23, 4.30m; Mondo, 20, 6.17m; Johanna, 17, 3.58m.

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Tempo is undoubtedly one of Mondo’s best likely weapons. The 20-300 and sixty five days-outmoded has bustle 10.57 seconds (albeit wind-assisted) for the 100m and believes he’s within the form now to most likely bustle 10.4 seconds.

That self perception – and increased turn of tempo – has its origins in Duplantis’ resolution to ditch a faculty occasion life-style to expose knowledgeable this 300 and sixty five days.

By his obtain admission spending final 300 and sixty five days learning at Louisiana Recount College left Duplantis with a “corpulent school minute one” physique.

Nonetheless, with the abet of his mother, a dietician, Duplantis has made – and profited massively from – a pair of microscopic changes. Long gone, largely, is the fried food he so loved (“I’m from Louisiana, it’s graceful inviting now to not”). In its plight? A brand fresh thought. Greens.

“Mondo has never no doubt enjoyed greens,” Helena says. “He would correct transfer them to the side of the plate. We’re taking it one vegetable at a time.”

One vegetable at a time and one centimetre at a time most likely too?

Bubka’s modus operandi became to interrupt the tale in one centimetre increments.

“I cherish your complete attention it’s getting on yarn of I cherish pole vaulting,” says Duplantis

The Ukrainian broke it 35 events (17 outdoors and 18 indoor) at some level of an fabulous occupation that saw him earn one Olympic and 6 world titles. When he in a roundabout draw bowed out he had increased the tale to 6.14m – a imprint France’s Renaud Lavillenie then extended to 6.16m.

“Bubka blew it for me,” Duplantis jokes now. “If the realm tale had been at relate six metres 10 centimetres then I would possibly maybe obtain broken it seven events now.”

He would possibly maybe but quiet fabricate so.

Mom Helena watched husband Greg compete against Bubka. ‘Easy’ is the note that keeps bobbing up when she describes looking at final weekend’s world tale.

“After I became within the stadium and looking at him I believed, here’s provoking,” Helena adds. “It correct didn’t seem that inviting to him. I fabricate now not know whether or now not I would possibly maybe quiet relate this nonetheless with Bubka I fabricate now not know if it looked that straightforward.”

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Easy or now not, the inviting quiz now’s whether or now not or now not Duplantis can rush increased.

“With Mondo of us investigate cross-check how hasty he did it, and how young he did it and the handiest quiz they can imagine is “when will he fabricate it over again?” Kendricks says.

“Within the event you quiz of that of somebody, you fracture them. To not relate this can fracture Mondo on yarn of he’s bigger than the strain. But there is so great extra to realize within the sport than the realm tale.”

Duplantis is aware of – and accepts that – in Tokyo this can possibly be inviting to just uncover something as adverse to the gold medal – “in particular now”.

But what of that other burning quiz. Can he rush increased?

Duplantis laughs.

“I no doubt had been asked it so many events within the final week. Or now not it’s the handiest aspect I am asked now nonetheless I inform it makes sense, you fracture the realm tale they correct need to know when the following one goes to be.”

So when will that be? More smiles.

“I fabricate now not need to attach aside a restrict on myself. I no doubt feel correct and I fabricate now not investigate cross-check why I’d height at Two decades outmoded.”

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