Vitaly Petrov is, perhaps, the greatest master of pole vaulting. He became well-known as a mentor to Serguéi Bubka and ended his triumphant journey by assisting Yelena Isinbayeva, whom he accompanied while the Russian woman sealed several of her jumps above 5 meters.
Once, explaining the validity of the Bubka phenomenon as an extraordinary reference for athletics, not just for its specialty, he confessed to a very special strategy developed by the Ukrainian phenomenon.
“For Serguéi, it was essential to get pole vaulting as widely as possible. For this reason, several of their world records were just one centimeter higher than the previous one. In this way, in a journalistic world in which athletics was not a priority and, within athletics, much less was his test a priority, he achieved headlines hand in hand with every record.”
In other words, on more than one occasion Bubka could have set a record with a higher jump than recorded, but he prioritized the step by step that guaranteed media presence.
Even though we don’t know if something like this were going through Armand Duplantis’ mind, the endless success of the Swede born in the United States is a true tribute to his predecessor.
Limitless. Armand Duplantis had been anticipating a new record and fate wanted him to achieve it at the Hayward Field stadium in Eugene, United States, where last year he became world champion in pole vaulting for the first time.
At the close of the Diamond League season and after passing 6.03 meters with a scare, the 23-year-old Swede went straight to the goal: 6.23. That mark, two centimeters above his outdoor record he had achieved on July 24, 2022 to become world champion, had already eluded him four times in recent weeks. Until the day came.
A single jump was enough for Duplantis to win back himself, achieve his seventh world record and beat the six meters record achieved by Sergei Bubka for the first time on July 13, 1985, in Paris for 72 times! Extraordinary.
“World records thrill me because they make me feel good and when I get one, what more can I ask for?” , recognized the Olympic champion in Tokyo 2020 after the title in Eugene and said: “The record is a crazy way to end the season, I’ve never had one like that”.
On February 8, 2020 in Torun (Poland) and indoors (the International Athletics Federation approved indoor jumps as world records in 2000), Duplantis achieved his first record by jumping 6.17 meters and surpassing by one centimeter the mark held by Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie.
The Swede reached 6.18 meters on February 15, 2020 in Glasgow (indoor track), surpassed 6.19 meters on March 7, 2022 in Belgrade (indoor track), passed 6.20 meters on March 20, 2022 in Belgrade (indoor track) and after the 6.21 meter record in Eugene last year, Duplantis had set its last mark of 6.22 meters on February 25, 2023 in Clermont-Ferrand (indoor track). And the seventh arrived.
“It’s hard to explain, it’s a great feeling,” Duplantis said after adding his third Diamond League to a career that already has him with just 23 years as Olympic champion (Tokyo 2020), double outdoor world champion (Eugene 2022 and Budapest 2023) and indoor world champion (Belgrade 2022).
“The 6.23 meters is a very high limit, but I hope I can continue to jump well and keep jumping higher. At the end of my career, I hope to definitely have the highest bar that I think I could have achieved,” Duplantis anticipated. How far can he go? It’s the question that everyone asks themselves...