Renaud Lavillenie, 2014 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net
On 25 January 2014, Renaud Lavillenie cleared 6.04m, setting a new French indoor record. On 31 January, Lavillenie cleared 6.08m, becoming the second highest pole vaulter of all times, indoor or out!
The epic jump took place in Donetsk, Ukraine on 15 February 2014, when Renaud Lavillenie made history, clearing 6.16m/20ft-21/2 inches, and breaking the WR of the iconic Sergey Bubka. Lavillenie made an attempt at 6.21m, and lacerated his right ankle, needing sixteen stitches. On crutches, and returning to Paris, the new “roi de la perche” was greeted by Jean Galfione, the vaulter who preceded Lavillenie as French record holders indoors and out.
Galfione, in speaking of Renaud Lavillenie, noted to the assembled French media : “Doing better than Bubka, it is like going faster than Usain Bolt, having better statistics than Michael Jordan. He has just dethroned a legend.” Consider that for a moment.
The finest complement was by Sergey Bubka, who was the first person to congratulate Lavillenie after his 6.16m clearance. Bubka said the following to the Associated Press : “It was a great, historical moment. It was really an incredible performance. I am very happy that I passed the baton to such a great athlete and such a great personality and role model. I always felt it could happen. I hoped it would soon.”
Bubka, it should be noted, also was the prime mover in bringing Lavillenie to the Donetsk Night of Pole Vault Stars. Sergey Bubka knows pole vault talent.
In watching Renaud Lavillenie over the past five years, I have come to respect not only his athleticism, but his drive, sense of humor and his sportsmanship. I am reminded of his heart breaking nullification of the 6.07m in Goteborg, Sweden, due to a movement of the barrier. I am also reminded of his no height in Stockholm, Sweden in 2014. In each case, Renaud dusted himself off, showed his class, and focused on the next competition.
This did not mean that Lavillenie was not frustrated: he is, after all, only human. But he is also the most talented pole vaulter of this generation.
The IAAF gave Renaud Lavillenie the World Athlete of the Year in November 2014 at their Golden Gala.
RunBlogRun celebrates Monsieur Lavillenie’s World Athlete of the Year award, and his TFN Male Athlete of the Year with our own RunBlogRun Global Athlete of the Year award.
Renaud Lavillenie is everything we at RunBlogRun believes a track superstar should be: hard working, focused, athletic, hugely competitive, and possessing a tremendous amount of presence.
Thanks to The Shoe Addicts, who created this video for RunBlogRun.