Pole vault king Mondo Duplantis retains European title
Sweden’s Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis retained his European pole vault title in comprehensive fashion in Munich on Saturday.
Duplantis, fresh from breaking his own world record in Eugene as he clinched world gold with 6.21 meters last month, set a championship record of 6.06 meters for victory at the Olympic Stadium.
Germany’s Bo Kanda Lita Baehre claimed silver with a best of 5.85m, while Norway’s Pal Haugen Lillefosse took bronze (5.75).
Coming into the continental showpiece, Duplantis was on an 18-competition winning streak and was once again a class apart from a field that struggled throughout in cool, damp conditions.
“Honestly, it was a great evening. Considering the situation and circumstances, I cannot complain,” said Duplantis.
“I just focused on winning. Sometimes you have to get over the bar first and then you can celebrate and not before. I take everything step by step and I take whatever comes.
“You need the things to really go your way to have things to work out the way they should.
“Sometimes you can get very unlucky with all kinds of things but I am just glad that everything worked out the way as it did tonight.
“I think this season, I have experienced all kind of situations and these championships were very special to me.”
Duplantis came in at 5.65m, with two rivals already out of the reckoning.
The US-born Swede sailed over that mark, a further trio of vaulters falling by the wayside, and passed at 5.75m, as did France’s three-time European champion and former Olympic gold medallist Renaud Lavillenie.
The Frenchman faltered three times at 5.85m, however, while Duplantis flew over at that mark. Similar successes came at 5.90 and 5.95m.
Lita Baehre was by that stage out of the competition, so Duplantis had the bar raised to 6.06m.
The Swede readied himself, launching down the runway and propelling himself well clear to better by 1cm the previous championship best he set when winning gold in Berlin in the 2018 championships.
“That was the cherry on the top,” Duplantis said.
Any thoughts of a fresh bid at bettering his own world record were short-lived, however, Duplantis quickly telling officials he’d had enough.
“It didn’t seem like it was really on the cards today. Sometimes it’s like that, it’s not for every day. I feel like I jumped really well, I can’t complain,” he said.
Lita Baehre hailed the presence of Duplantis.
“Having Mondo, the best of all time, in this competition is a blessing because when you beat him you are the best of all time,” the German said.
“He is a blessing and I am thankful for this. I have not yet planned on how I will celebrate. Let us see, it will rather be with wine than with beer.”