In front of nearly four thousand fans in the iconic space that is the Zurich train station, silver medalist Timur Morgunov showed his amazing talent, and athleticism in taking the men’s PV competition on the very last attempt of the evening. And make it he did. The young russian vaulter showed his ability to handle the stress of global competition with a nifty 5.91 meter clearance. His clearance reminded this writer of the amazing global talent in this wonderful event, where some of the sport’s most talented and colorful athletes try to touch the sun.
In that attempt to touch the sun, we see athletes give their best efforts. And in a world where parochialism continues to separate us, a heroic kick of a football, leg of a relay, or, in this case, a last attempt clearance of 5.91 meters takes the breath away of everyone in the Zurich trainstation, and this observer watching from 7,118 meters or 4,229 miles away in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin (thanks to Swiss TV).
The pole vault in the Zurich train station is an amazing venue. Last year, this writer enjoyed the women’s pole vault. A space that captures the excitement of the event, and that allows fans of all ages to get up close with some of the most engaging athletes in our sport.
The only member of the men’s PV pantheon that was not in attendance was Mondo Duplantis. After his clearances of 5.95 meters, 6.00 meters and 6.05 meters, Mondo Duplantis could run for PM of Sweden. His face is on the newspapers all over the country and one of the stories how he might possess National records in two countries at the same time, but that, kind and attentive readers, that is for another time.
The other man over six meters in Berlin was Timur Morgunov, the twenty-one year old ANA athlete, who is impressing many with his jumping and his athleticism, reminding this writer of the technical precision of the Soviet bloc vaulters of the 1980s. We will be seeing much more of this fine athlete.
This was a curious event, as the Big Men, World record holder, and Olympic Champ Lavillenie, London WC Sam Kendricks both were challenged today. Kendricks cleared 5.71m, and Lavillenie cleared 5.86m, although he tried 5.91 meters. Monsieur Lavllenie was frustrated, knowing that his heart desired 5.91 meters and his slight injuries limited his soaring. Kendricks literally just got off a plane. Sam spent the rest of the meeting helping his fellow vaulters with their attempts. I enjoyed his encouagement of Kurt Marschall, who set 2 PBs at 5.81m and 5.86m. The TV caught Kendricks helping Pawel Wojciechowski with his 5.91m attempts. These vaulters are all class.
The pole vault is a physical event. Some days, one is on and some days, not so on. For 2015 Beijing gold medalist Shawn Barber, this was his best day of the summer. Barber was both engaged and focused. His relaxation and genuine pleasure in his vaulting was quite evident during a light Swiss TV interview during the competition.
Morgunov is a tough competitor. On the very last attempt of the entire competition, the twenty-one year old clears the standard mightily, suggesting that his 6 meter clearance in Berlin two weeks ago was not a fluke. This young ANA athlete will be in the thick of the PV wars for some time to come. Like a young Bubka, Mr. Morganov will learn a few phrases in English, and see that fans around the world just want to know a few things about this amazingly talented pole vaulter.
The Diamond League PV concludes in Brussels, on Friday, August 31, 2018. This event in Zurich shows that a few athletes can come on at the end of a long season of vaulting around the globe.
ZurichDL, PV Men, (indoor) 1. Timur MORGUNOV, ANA, 5.91m, PB, 2. Shawnacy BARBER, CAN, 5.86m, SB, 3. Kurtis MARSCHALL, AUS, 5.86m PB, 4. PaweÅ‚ WOJCIECHOWSK, POL, 5.81m PB, 5. Renaud LAVILLENIE, FRA, 5.81m, 5.Piotr LISEK, POL, 5.81m, photo by @gettyimages/ #EAA, #ZurichDL, #diamondleague, @Diamond_League, #zurichDL, @polevaultpower, @RunBlogRun