Mondo Duplantis, during one of his jumps. Darko Vojinovic / A
P European Champion in three jumps: 5.60, 5.80 and 5.85m. All the others have already failed. And he follows the show and surpasses the second 6.05m. "Technically, I have won in two jumps", corrects Duplantis, "because I am the only one who has passed the 5.80m to the first, but it does not matter … I have achieved the gold that was what I wanted and the championship record" .
Mondo is just missing another world record. Armand, Mondo , Duplantis, the 21-year-old Swedish prodigy, rehearses, warms up a little in two attempts over 6.05m, a height so natural for him as it is scarce in history, only three more men have exceeded such a high bar: the Ukrainian legend Sergei Bubka, French world exlusmarista Renaud Lavillenie and Australian Steven Hooker. Duplantis did it for the first time at the Europeans outdoors in Berlin, in 2018, his first continental gold. And since then he has surpassed that height 5 times, two of them, world record, (2.18m) a consistency over heights hitherto unthinkable and that he now generously gives to the public that gets excited around the world seeing him fly and wonders how it does, with that ease.
“I've just gotten better. If you work hard and don't set yourself mental limits, you can achieve great things. I try not to put barriers to myself because I know that I can achieve great achievements and do things that people did not think were possible. I try to fly higher day after day and it becomes easier ”, he explained with that kindness that touches the mixed zone a day before, after the easiest semifinals of his life. Mondo only had to make one jump to be in the final, 5.60m, one jump, a privilege for a small audience of journalists avid for the show, Mondo saved all his energy for the final
And he put it in three attempts out of 6 , 19m, three times he had the height and three times the depth failed him. "It would have been too big," Duplantis said after his display. “Especially knowing that this is where I broke the world record for the first time. Today I was very close, in fact, it was my best attempt so far over 6.19m. ”
The best attempt, in silence, in a half-empty stadium. “I wish there were people here watching me jump. Because when I look back on last year, it was very special, the atmosphere was crazy, ”admitted Duplantis. “I miss it because I think that helped me break the world record last year. When you have so many people watching you in the stands, you want to show them that you have the record there. At that time, you don't care about cameras, you just want people to be there. I understand the situation we are in, but I wish we had had an audience today. ”
On February 8, 2020, before the pandemic closed Europe, the stadiums and the world, Mondo jumped 6.17m before a crazed public that he He returned the gestures and the spectacle. A week later he beat himself again by a centimeter in Glasgow: 6.18m, the Duplantis era.
This Sunday, in the same magical Torun, the Swede just jumped 6.05 meters, no less, and almost tastes like little, so much was the adrenaline, so many expectations, the illusion of seeing him jump from the journalists and the Swedish delegation, who shouted "Duplantis, Duplantis" from the stands. From there, sitting with his coach Philippe d'Encausse, Lavillenie also applauded him and gave him advice. “My father advises me on technical issues, but many times I go to Renaud and ask him what is the best strategy, what heights is better to jump. I really appreciate his opinion because he has a better vision than me in these aspects ”, said Duplantis.
That was the only disappointment of the European champion. The pole was going to be an epic battle between Mondo and the Frenchman, but the latter was injured during a morning training session already in Torun and did not want to risk the preparation for the Olympic Games.
Two friends, Mondo and Renaud, who this year did not they had barely seen each other but constantly challenged each other. If Mondo jumped 6.01m in January, Lavillenie surpassed him in February with 6.02m and even at 6.06m he arrived a week ago in Clermont-Ferrand, the third best mark of his career, a height that only three more men have overcome. apart from him: Mondo, Bubka and Australian Steven Hooker. The Frenchman was so fit that he returned to his poles from five years ago, with which he broke the 6.16m world record in Donetsk in 2014 and with which he intended to at least give Mondo a fight. "We would have done something great, I'm sure," Mondo lamented. "It makes me very angry because this championship is not the same without him."
Only Renaud's brother, Valentin Lavillenie, and Piotr Lisek of Poland attacked the 5.85m, but both were left at 5.80m, silver and bronze, and Mondo was left alone. “In the end, I was competing against an imaginary Renaud and his championship record,” said the Swede.
An atypical championship that ended without a record but very close to it, it gets closer and closer and each time exceeds the old barrier of six meters more often: ten times in 2020, in a single season, four times this winter. Being better than Bubka is his next ambition. “I have already surpassed Renaud in the number of jumps over six meters but I have a long way to go to overcome Bubka. A height of 6.19m demands much more perfection. Now that I have reached the point of attacking heights of 6.19m, 6.20m, you have to be perfect to be able to overcome them. Many times it comes out very well, but I'm not always perfect. ”