t flits between fast forward and slow motion, the moment Mondo Duplantis vaults higher than any human has ever done before.
And twice in the space of a fortnight he achieved the sensation, first clearing 6.17metres in Poland and then 6.18m in Glasgow before the first lockdown kicked in, and his soaring for new heights was brought crashing back down to earth.
“It’s a little bit of both — fast and slow,” he said of his record-breaking antics. “It’s over in an instant but also, when it happens, you know it’s happening but you don’t believe it’s happening.
“I know what I need to do to make these heights and break the world record but, when things actually go the way you planned, you kind of don’t believe it as you’re going over the bar.”
Landing on the mat on each occasion, the reaction was different. In Torun, the emotion was overwhelming as he hugged anyone in his range and vision and was generally “screaming and going crazy”. In Glasgow, as he puts it, the celebration was more “showboaty”.
Duplantis’s ability to push the boundaries beyond any other have inevitably led to the Usain Bolt comparisons in a sport screaming out for a successor to the Jamaican sprinter.
The USA-born and based Swedish vaulter was World Athletics’ male athlete of the year and is a colourful character to boot.
Of the comparison, he said: “I can only be who I can be. I can’t be Usain Bolt, we’re different people and do different events, so it’s hard to compare us. But what I want to be is the best pole vaulter that ever lived.”
Some would argue the 21-year-old — the same age as Bolt when he first broke the 100metre world record — already is, but Duplantis is adamant that accolade still rests with Sergey Bubka.
Prior to the lockdown, Duplantis never thought of himself as a much of a showman until the crowds were taken away, and he realised quite how much he fed off an expectant public.
But he credits the initial enforced break in both competition and training for reinvigorating his appetite for the sport he first took up as a three-year-old.
He flew back to the family home in Lafayette to be reunited with the homemade pole vault set-up where he originally learned his craft, complete with the neighbour’s brick garden wall situated perilously close to the landing mat.
“It was a little bit of a project restoring it,” he said. “But it was a really humbling experience. You realise where you come from and why I do what I do. I love pole vaulting and feel like I got to rekindle that love I had for it again.
“I felt like a kid again, there were no worries, I wasn’t training for the Olympics, I was just trying to get over the bar and have a great time. It was just me as a young kid visualising being Renaud Lavillenie going for the world record. It made me realise a lot of the stuff I’d dreamed about had come true.”
From lockdown to now, the focus has almost been entirely on Olympic gold in tomorrow’s final, his cause eased by the USA’s Sam Kendricks withdrawal following a positive Covid test.
“It’s the hugest platform of athletics and I dream of a world record at the Olympics,” he said. “One jump can change a lot of things in someone’s life. I know I’m capable of great things. I could jump really high and break world records and push boundaries that no man has gone into.
“I have to think about the gold, but that’s the same in every competition. I know I can come away with the win whatever the competition. Second place in any competition is disappointing.”
Duplantis knows full well he is a beacon of hope in a sport looking for that next superstar, as well as for more positive headlines than those to have befallen athletics in its more recent past amid a flurry of doping.
He has heard the suggestion that all athletes are cheats, which grates.
“The generalisation does, because athletes are separated by their different events,” he said. “If distance runners or sprinters get caught, it doesn’t pertain to my event. If I see a failed drugs test in a sprinter, I don’t think it’s right but also I’m not super angry about it as it doesn’t directly affect me. If it was someone beating me, it would be different.”
Defeat is not something that Duplantis has experienced m
Heather Knight accepts Pakistan tour withdrawal but hopes England Women can check out in long run
ngland captain Heather Knight suggests the controversial decision to pull out of the prepared tour of Pakistan was “taken out of our hands” and insists it is critical for women’s cricket that they pay a visit to the state in the long run.
England’s ladies were because of to tour Pakistan for the initially time ever as aspect of a joint white-ball tour with the men’s staff, who were returning for the first time since 2005.
Even so, after New Zealand withdrew their men’s workforce from their tour of Pakistan very last 7 days due to a “credible threat”, the ECB announced on Monday that it too was pulling the plug.
That has drawn fierce criticism from Pakistan, who are confident they can give a protected experience for going to teams.
Knight insisted verdicts on the viability of a tour are not for players, or even captains, to take care of and defended the ECB’s ideal to make the phone.
Talking immediately after her side’s a few-wicket defeat to New Zealand at Leicester, she reported: “We found yesterday that the board experienced built the final decision for us not to go and it’s higher than our heads a minimal bit.
“I feel the the dialogue and the communication between the board and PCA (experienced cricketers’ association) is a robust a person, and it was a tough situation with what experienced gone on with New Zealand.
“I feel using it out of our palms is most likely the right issue to do and, and that was finished with a perspective to consider and glimpse soon after the gamers.
“It’s for the persons higher than us to make people selections and for us to to get on with them and take wherever they are.
“Hopefully, someday in the potential we’ll be able to go. I do consider it is significant for them, notably in women’s cricket with what is going on in the location.”
Knight had a lot more urgent issues to look at as well, obtaining found her side’s batting falter once more at Grace Road.
England were being bowled out although batting 1st for the 3rd activity in a row, this time for an under-energy 178, and would have been even worse off ended up it not for Katherine Brunt’s defiant 49 not out from amount nine.
New Zealand chased it down for the decline of seven wickets many thanks to Maddy Green’s confident 70 not out, with Brunt also professing four for 22 in a dropping cause.
“It was not a sport we should have to win, win, to be honest, we ended up just brief with the bat once again,” claimed Knight.
“We confirmed true combat, which is a great high quality to have in this staff. But as a top purchase we’re quite disappointed in that dressing room immediately after not putting jointly a overall.
“We know the expertise we have received in that batting line-up but we’ve got to uncover a way to turn it about rather quickly as a group and acquire some obligation for currently being the ones to make a rating.”
Extra reporting by PA.
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