6.20 meters are within reach in pole vaulting. When Armand Duplantis, the 22-year-old Swede from Louisiana in the United States, finally increased his world record to 6.19 meters in Belgrade on Monday evening in Belgrade, he promised more: “Now we will attack the 6.20 meters in two weeks . I have the feeling that I can jump even higher, that this is all just the beginning,” said Duplantis, looking ahead to the World Indoor Championships in the same place in a fortnight: “I think I can still try a lot, like the 6th .20 meters and more.”
Since he had increased the world record in February 2020 within a week, first in Torun to 6.17 meters and then in Glasgow, seemingly effortlessly, to 6.18 meters, Duplantis has been chasing the next height. Even when he won the Olympics in Tokyo last year, he dropped 6.19 meters – and had to realize that he wanted too much.
The ambition, the restrictions caused by the corona pandemic, the cancellation of many events – Mondo, as it is called, flew high, but not higher. In this indoor season he tackled his third world record with almost grim determination and only increased the results one inch: In Karlsruhe he won with 6.02 meters, in Berlin with 6.03, in Uppasala with 6.04 and in Birmingham with 6, 05 Each time he tried in vain to break the record. And got angry. In Belgrade he complained: “I’ve never had such difficulties with any height, never in my life.”
It is true that he has long since surpassed the legendary Sergej Bubka; Duplantis broke his almost 26-year-old outdoor record of 6.14 meters from Sestriere in 1994, which was already devalued by the joint evaluation of performances in halls and stadiums, in Rome in 2020. But setting 35 world records like the Ukrainian would be impossible. If he were to always jump one centimeter higher, he would have to increase the record to 6.51 meters. Inconceivably.
As if to demonstrate his unique superiority, Duplantis started Monday’s competition at 5.61 meters when all competitors were eliminated. He followed 5.85 meters, 6.00 meters. Then he was already at the world record height. He mastered it on the third try.