'Still up in the clouds' - Duplantis erases Bubka from record books
ROME - Only the sky seems to be the limit for Armand "Mondo" Duplantis who has now erased legendary Sergey Bubka from the pole vault record books for good.
Sweden's Duplantis, 20, soared 6.15 metres at the Rome Diamond League meet on Thursday night, the highest ever vault outdoors which bettered Bubka's long-standing record 6.14m set 26 years ago also in Italy, in the high altitude of Sestriere.
Bubka had already lost the indoor record to Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie in 2014, before Duplantis raised that mark to first 6.17m and then 6.18m earlier in the year.
That is also the official world record because the ruling body World Athletics since 1998 makes no difference between indoor or outdoor records in field events.
"There was kind of this confusion between the indoor and outdoor record - it's kind of merged. I already had the world record but I wanted to clear everything up and be the best outdoor," Duplantis said.
"I just wanted to be on top of the leaderboard. The 6.15m was really important to me, so I'm happy to get over that.
"I hit the mat but I haven't really fallen back to earth. I think I'm still up in the clouds right now. It's just one of those feelings where you are kind of dreaming a little bit. It's surreal."
Ukrainian Bubka, who had once redefined the discipline as the first man over the magic 6m-barrier, had no hard feelings.
Congratulations for breaking my record! Amazing result!" Bubka tweeted.
"Happy for him and his parents. They are great people. And happy for athletics and sports in general that we have such a bright star for years to come. All the best and onward to new heights!"
Duplantis, the US-born son of a former American pole vaulter and a former Swedish heptathlete (who are also his coaches) is expected to rule the event in similar fashion as Bubka did for so many years.
Having started vaulting as boy in his back yard, Duplantis rose to stardom at the 2018 European championships when he bettered his personal best by 12cm to 6.05m.
He was beaten by Sam Kendricks for the 2019 world title in Doha where the American already admitted that the future and the records would belong to Duplantis - who duly got the world record in February.
The friendly rivals Kendricks, Duplantis and Lavillenie engaged in a "garden competition" in their back yards in summer and Duplantis readily admitted that he got some help from his mentor Lavillenie en route to the record Thursday which he got in his second attempt.
"Renaud was kind of the replacement coach today and it worked out. After that first attempt I knew what I had to do to do it, I just had to go out there and get it done," said Duplantis who for good measure also wants to vault 6.18m outdoors in the future.
"It is just a matter of time," he said.