Mondo Duplantis isn’t just another high achieving teenage track & field star. He’s already one of the world’s best at his event, and before long he may be recognized as the guiding light in an event that too often goes overlooked, even as its stars literally fly above the competition.
Duplantis, who recently graduated from Lafayette (La.) High, but he’s already moved on to bigger, higher things. That includes his first ever pole vault title in the Diamond League, the elite global track & field circuit.
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Competing in Stockholm in his mother’s native Sweden, while competing as a Swedish athlete, Duplantis cleared 19-2¾, finishing firmly in first place at the Diamond League meet even though the mark was lower than his recent personal and prep record of 19-5½ set at the Louisiana state championships. Second place in Stockholm? That would be the reigning World Championships gold medalist and Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks, a fellow American.
You can see Duplantis’ victorious jump both above and via a second angle just below.
According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, Duplantis also topped three other former pole vault world champions at the meet: Poland’s Pawel Wojciechowski (18-10¾), Canada’s Shawnacy Barber (18-6¾) and Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe (18-6¾).
For Duplantis, who is expected to win the All-USA Athlete of the Year and Gatorade National Track and Field Athlete of the Year award for the second-straight year, the win was a major breakthrough. It was his first victory in Europe after dominating competitions at different levels in the U.S. As he embarks on a legitimate professional campaign over the next two summers in an attempt to lead up to the 2020 Olympics, Duplantis may spend as much time competing in Europe as he does anywhere else.
Add to that the pride of winning in his mother’s home country for his mother’s home country, and Duplantis’ vault had about as much significance as any one bar-clearing could have.
As for the Olympics, Duplantis’ Class 5A meet leap of 19-5½ remains the second highest in the world this year, behind world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie. If Duplantis has his way, Lavillenie may not have that record for much longer.