Winning gold at Tokyo only goal for pole vaulter Duplantis

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Armand DUPLANTIS from Sweden competes within the pole vault males ultimate on the Diamond League monitor and discipline assembly in Stockholm on July 4, 2021. (Photograph by Thomas WINDESTAM / Diamond League AG)

NAIROBI— For Swedish pole vaulter Armand “Mondo” Duplantis, the one purpose when he steps as much as leap at his first Olympic Video games in Tokyo is profitable the gold medal.

The 21-year outdated Duplantis, a world silver medalist, already holds the world report after he cleared 6.17 meters at a World Athletics Indoor Tour meet in Torun, Poland, in February of 2020 and improved on it by one centimeter in Glasgow the identical month.

He additionally boasts the very best out of doors pole vault when he soared 6.15m to win gold on the Rome Diamond League assembly in September final yr.

On the Tokyo Olympics, as a result of begin subsequent Friday, Duplantis advised reporters this week it was all about gold for him.

“Successful is the one purpose,” he stated. “In a dream in fact world I’d prefer to go and break the world report and do one thing very legendary on the Video games, however it’s my first Video games and I simply wish to win, that’s actually the one factor that’s on my thoughts proper now.”

He’ll vie for gold in opposition to the likes of American Sam Kendricks, who retained his world title in Doha in 2019 and claimed Olympic bronze 5 years in the past.

Nevertheless, Duplantis heads to Japan in terrific type.

At this month’s Diamond League occasion in Stockholm, Duplantis placed on a present, clearing 6.02m to win in a meet report. He even tried 6.19m to attempt to break his world report as followers clapped him on however didn’t handle to clear that peak.

In contrast to in Stockholm, nevertheless, Duplantis should face competing with out spectators in Japan.

Authorities have stated the Olympics will happen with out followers in host metropolis Tokyo, as they grapple with a resurgent coronavirus which pressured them to declare a state of emergency within the capital that may run all through the Video games.

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Sweden's Armand Duplantis before the pole vault

FILE PHOTO: Sweden’s Armand Duplantis earlier than the pole vault occasion at Diamond League on July 4, 2021. TT Information Company by way of REUTERS/Christine Olsson/TT

Whereas leaping throughout 2020 with out followers gave Duplantis an concept of what it was prefer to compete with out assist, he stated it was not straightforward to totally get used to it.

“You don’t have that very same spark if you find yourself leaping, you simply don’t have that very same adrenaline, you don’t have that very same motivation,” he stated.

“You realize that TV man is there and they’re filming you, and there are folks watching by means of the (TV) display, you recognize that. However you don’t really feel it,” he added.

Nevertheless, whereas nothing can substitute leaping in entrance of dwell followers waving flags and clapping, the grand stage of the Olympic Video games guarantees to supply sufficient motivation, he stated.

“I imply it’s the Olympics, and it’s a very powerful competitors that I’m ever going to compete at, so I feel I’m going to have all of the motivation I want,” Duplantis added.

It should Duplantis’ first journey to Japan and stated that he seemed as much as Japanese baseball gamers rising up.

“Three years in the past, I purchased a Shohei Ohtani jersey, this was even earlier than he was within the MLB (Main League Baseball),” he stated referring to the Japanese baseball star generally known as ‘Shotime’.

“I used to be watching movies of him and I turned sort of obsessive about him trigger I assumed the issues that he was doing have been so loopy. I used to be telling all of my associates about him, saying he’s sort of this new Babe Ruth.”

Duplantis was born within the U.S. state of Louisiana – his father is former pole vaulter Greg Duplantis – however in 2015 selected to compete for Sweden the place his mom Helena is from.

He performed soccer and baseball rising up however selected pole vault because it gave him “one of the best likelihood to make it to the highest”. He has actually fulfilled his potential however profitable a gold medal on the Tokyo Olympics could be the icing on the cake.

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