AREVA Notebook: Renaud Lavillenie, the next athletics superstar? by Larry Eder

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This is the poster for the AREVA Paris. Renaud Lavillenie, the World Record holder in the pole vault is a superstar in France, but, can he draw around the world? 

Renaud Lavillenie is a handsome, athletic star, who speaks French and fluent English. Comfortable in his own skin, Renaud tolerates media questions, both educated and less than up to snuff, so to speak, with equal charm. As a sponsored athlete, Lavillenie knows his job as a professional athlete. 

But, there is much more. 

There have been many fine French pole vaulters, but unlike Vigneron, Renaud Lavillenie handles the mental challenges with aplomb. He is a fearless competitor. And he is prolific. Renaud Lavillenie has competed in Reno, Nevada's Pole Vault Summit twice. " I have competed in the French pole vault summer. There are two pits and maybe two hundred vaulters in France. In Reno, there are 1100 vaulters and many pits. Also I got to meet Tim Mack, Nick Hysong and many of the American pole vault veterans. It is the exchange of ideas that fascinates me."

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This year, Renaud Lavillenie can be seen on buses across Paris and signage around the City of Lights. The AREVA Paris meeting normally has a crowd of 45,000 to 50,000. This year, the crowd is noted to be around 50,000.

When asked whether he can replicate the World record from Donetsk outdoors, Lavillenie replied thoughtfully: " I will go first 6.05 meters, and then, 6.10 meters, and then, we shall see. I have many years left. Probably not this year, though." 

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