Easily won the Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medal with a bar of 6.02 meters, but Armand Duplantis could not break his own world record on the evening of August 3.

Armand Duplantis wins gold in pole vaulting

In the second play-off jump for the gold medal, with 6.02 meters, American athlete Christopher Nilsen failed in the first jump. Meanwhile, Duplantis easily successfully conquered this level of the bar and firmly held the gold medal, because Nilsen failed in both last jumps.

Because there were still jumps, Duplantis registered a bar level of 6.19 meters. If successful, the American-Swedish athlete will set a new world record, more than the old record of 6.18 meters that he himself set in Glasgow, Scotland on February 15, 2020. But with this level of bar, Duplantis failed to make it through all three jumps.

On the third jump of the 6.19 metres, Duplantis performed almost every move perfectly, tossing and bending to fly over the bar. But as he fell, his chest lightly touched and dropped the beam. The 21-year-old athlete held his head, expressing surprise and regret at the failure to eat. Opponents Renaud Lavillenie, Nilsen – who continuously applauded before Duplantis danced – also did not hide their regret because he failed to jump.

Duplantis was very close to a new world record after his perfect toss and fly, but let his chest touch and dropped the bar in Tokyo on the evening of 3/8.  Photo: Reuters

Duplantis was very close to a new world record after his perfect toss and fly, but let his chest touch and dropped the bar in Tokyo on the evening of 3/8. Photo: Reuters

This is the fourth time Duplantis has failed to break his own world record. During the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Torun, Poland in March, Duplantis set a new tournament record of 6.05 metres, but failed to cross all three jumps at 6.19 metres. Before that, it failed in two high jump competitions in France, including Pas de Calais on February 19, 2020 and All Star Perche four days later.

The Tokyo Olympic men’s pole vault final on the evening of August 3 was only really attractive when there were only four athletes left, with the high and low mark of the bar at 5.92 meters.

French athlete Renaud Lavillenie was the first to leave the game when he failed to jump the first two times, and was unable to make the final jump because of pain when he fell off the support, hitting his foot wrongly into the hole. The next to be eliminated was Thiago Braz. This Brazilian athlete failed all three jumps, and marked a decline in form compared to when he set an Olympic record and won the 2016 Rio gold medal with a bar of 6.03 meters.

Duplantis succeeded in the first jump, and with Christopher Nilsen – the American athlete who succeeded in the second jump – entered the play-off match for the gold medal. Here, both successfully conquered the beam level of 5.97 meters. But to the bar at 6.02 meters, Nilsen failed to jump through all three turns, thereby receiving a silver medal. And Duplantis gently flew over the bar to firmly hold the gold medal.

This bronze medal belongs to Thiago Braz, with a crossbar of 5.87 meters.

Duplantis is still happy because he won a gold medal for the first time at the Olympics.  At the age of 21, he still has a long future ahead of him to conquer new heights.  Photo: Reuters

Duplantis is still happy because he won a gold medal for the first time at the Olympics. At the age of 21, he still has a long future ahead of him to conquer new heights. Photo: Reuters

The men’s pole vault record, for about 30 years from 1984 to 2014, is held by the legendary Ukrainian athlete – Sergey Bubka. He first set the world record at 5m85, then steadily raised the achievement in the following years. The last record – 6.15 meters – Bubka set in 1993, in Donetsk, Ukraine at the age of 30.

It took nearly 21 years, until February 2014, Bubka’s record was broken, when Renaud Lavillenie conquered the 6.16 meter bar in Donetsk. However, the record of Levillenie – who also competed in the final at Tokyo 2020 on the evening of August 3 – only lasted another six years. On February 8, 2020, at the World Athletics Indoor Tour in Torun, Poland, Duplantis set a new world record with a bar of 6.17 meters. A week later, the American-Swedish athlete raised his own record to 6.18 meters in Glasgow.

Duplantis was born in Louisiana, USA, but chose to play for Sweden – his mother’s hometown. The 20-year-old athlete won a gold medal at the 2018 European Championships. Before Duplantis became the world record holder, his best achievement was 6m05, at the 2018 World U-20 Championships. World Championships took place in October 2019 in Doha, Qatar, Duplantis won a silver medal with a time of 5m97.

Nhat Tao


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