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February 15, 2020 9:28 AM   Subscribe

BBC: "He holds the world's best mark at every age level from under-seven to under-12 and then from under-17 all the way to senior." Meet Armand "Mondo" Duplantis. Born in the USA, quietly setting records as a child pole vaulter, and now 20 and Swedish, confident, and the holder of several previous championship and age group records. Now he's broken the world record for pole vaulting - not once (alternate), but twice (with room to spare), in a week. The current record stands at 6.18 metres. (post title)
posted by Wordshore (18 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Next: To the moon!

Is his technique different or is his technique one of perfection? I couldn't tell from the title article.
posted by mightshould at 9:40 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Unsure and hoping the MetaFilter Pole Vaulting community will chip in. It may help that (a) his father was a pole vaulter and (b) he's been doing it since age 3 or 4 (depending on article).
posted by Wordshore at 9:42 AM on February 15


I'm sorry, there's just something about the sentence "Born in the USA, ..., and now 20 and Swedish..." that's making me giggle.

I went on a small Wikipedia run to see how far behind Sergey Bubka's records were left behind by now. Turns out, not far at all! He still holds the outdoor record, by 9 centimeters, 35 years later. And this latest feat is only 3cm better than Bubka's overall best. What a legacy!

And of course Yelena Isinbayeva is still the reigning record holder a decade later as well. Of course. I still remember the stretch of her career when she would consistently surpass her own personal best centimeter by centimeter in consecutive tournaments, just because prize money was awarded for each broken record regardless of the magnitude of the improvement.
posted by dmit at 10:20 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


Holy crap, that pole looked crazy long. The technology employed in making those things must be pretty advanced, to allow such flexibility and predictable rebound force.

Would I be correct in assuming there's no restriction on how long the poles used in competition have to be? Is the sport a case of "if you can manage it, you can use it" ?
posted by Thorzdad at 10:51 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


That appears to be true:

"Pole vaulters' poles are among the least-regulated of any Olympic apparatus. The pole can be made of any material or combination of materials and may be of any length or diameter, but the basic surface must be smooth. The pole may have protective layers of tape at the grip and at the bottom end."

https://www.liveabout.com/olympic-pole-vault-rules-3259050
posted by tavella at 11:02 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


I was born in the States, but sadly wasn't Swedish until the age of 24. No wonder I can't pole vault for shit.
posted by St. Oops at 11:08 AM on February 15 [8 favorites]


The "and now 20 and Swedish" bit is super confusing. According to his Wikipedia page, his mother is Swedish, and he is a citizen of both the US and Sweden. He has chosen to represent Sweden in competition.
posted by jonathanhughes at 11:37 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


As crazy long as the pole looks, it still seems to be shorter than the height he's clearing. There's probably an optimal ratio between those two measurements, I'd guess – the pole has to be at least so high to be able to make the height, but if it's too tall there's the risk of it falling into the crossbar and knocking it down.
posted by Lexica at 4:23 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


"Pole vaulters' poles are among the least-regulated of any Olympic apparatus. The pole can be made of any material or combination of materials and may be of any length or diameter, but the basic surface must be smooth. The pole may have protective layers of tape at the grip and at the bottom end."

I will try and bring a ladder, but TBH don't think I could just jump off the top so would cheat and still end up being a failure.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:37 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Interesting you bring up Bubka, dmit, because I read recently that Bubka maximized his appearance fees in meets for a number of years by only breaking his own records a little bit at a time. That way he could promise organizers all the publicity attendant on a new world record in a very popular event.

But according to the author, this strategy kept him form ever doing the best he could in his prime, because he was always holding back for the next venue.
posted by jamjam at 2:29 AM on February 16 [1 favorite]


Assuming he reaches his peak in his late 20s as is apparently typical for pole vaulters, then he could shave the record for a long time and still be pushing himself at his best.
posted by tavella at 2:40 AM on February 16


No, he's a Swede. And his name ain't Valter.
posted by Floydd at 2:52 AM on February 16 [1 favorite]


And isn't "Armand Duplantis" just the perfect name for a pole vaulter? It's as if he was named by Thomas Pynchon.
posted by chavenet at 3:20 AM on February 16 [4 favorites]


Per a tweet I saw, there were some travel disruptions after the meet, which was apparently very stressful for the pole vaulters. Apparently airlines are often not friendly with checked baggage that is 15+ feet long and it requires some pre-planning.
posted by tavella at 1:15 PM on February 16


Every other male pole vaulter I've seen over my lifetime is more heavily muscled than this kid, yet in one video of a world record jump 4 days ago, it looks like he could have cleared a bar a foot higher! It would have been like Bob Beamon's long jump in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City if the bar had been at the right height.

How does he do it? Has he discovered some new technique like the Fosbury Flop, but so subtle we don't pick up on it?
posted by jamjam at 1:55 AM on February 17


I was amused watching him break a record and then getting off the mat and standing and surveying the crowd with his arms crossed. Not the victory dance I was expecting but charming in its way. This sport is so cool.
posted by Bella Donna at 6:51 AM on February 17


jamjam, I'd also love to see a breakdown! My impression is that it's impeccable technique learned from childhood plus beginning to gain his adult strength (thus allowing him to use stiffer poles that transmit more energy), but do we have any pole vault experts around?
posted by tavella at 11:44 AM on February 17


OK, so I'm sitting in my cabin in the Swedish woods, one bar of mobile internet and listening to live pole vaulting on the radio. The spectacle is about what one would expect on the radio, but best of luck to the guy.
posted by St. Oops at 8:52 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]


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