This is the second piece on Lieven by Stuart Weir. We loved the meeting hosting the men’s and women’s pole vaults was well recieved. These were big events.
Double pole-vault challenge
I know that the World pole vault record has been broken three times* in this arena but I cannot believe that the atmosphere surpassed what we experienced at the Meeting Hauts de France on Wednesday evening. Two pole vault competitions on parallel runways, one male, one female, reaching the incredible climax of Mondo Duplantis and Sandi Morris attempting world records simultaneously. Both failed but the atmosphere was electric.
Races on the track seemed like a distraction to the main event – the pole vault. Mondo Duplantis had broken the world record in both his last two outings so to expect a third was a tall order. Yet somehow you felt he was disappointed. Here is a man – hardly more than a boy – who sets himself no limits. Tonight he cleared 6.07 but failed with three attempts at 6.19. Sam Kendricks jumped 5.90 – not long ago that was good!! Ben Broeders reached 5.80.
— Mondo Duplantis (@mondohoss600) February 19, 2020
Mondo told me afterwards: “It was fantastic. A lot of people jumped really good. Sam did 5.90, Ben Broeders did a PR of 5.80. And looking to my right Sandi is attempting a world record when I’m going for my world record. That was really cool. And such a great atmosphere over here. The crowd was on its feet and yelling, which I love and I know Sam loves too. It was a very special place to jump tonight. I thought I jumped good, I got a little tired towards the end. I think it was really cool that us pole-vaulters got to show why our event is so special”.
And in case anyone thought that two world records in a week might have dampened his enthusiasm, he told me: “I feel very motivated. I feel very motivated to do a lot of things. I want to be the best I can be every day and I have no problem motivating myself to do that”.
In the women’s event, Sandi Morris won with 4.83 and narrowly failed at a world record height of 5.03. Robeilys Peinado was second with 4.78 and Angelica Bengtsson third with 4.73.
Here is @sandicheekspv‘s second-time slick clearance over 4.83 to turn in her fourth win in as many outings this winter, having a sound first attempt at a would-be indoor WR of 5.03 in the wake, in the women’s PV in Lievin pic.twitter.com/dlMXntefnb
— Costas Goulas (@lsabre_Avenger) February 19, 2020
Sandi Morris told me: “I’m very, very happy. I just stepped off the plane, I just flew over from the U.S. Sometimes you don’t know what to expect from your body. I felt a little rough at first but to come out with a 4.83 and getting a shot at the world record is always good. I thought my first attempt was very good. That might be the best attempt have ever had at it. I know that my hips were over it but it’s just not quite there. Technically I might need more grip and a bit more stiffness on the pole and to step up with my hips a bit better. I am extremely happy with that for sure”.
Both vaulters said that they took energy from each other. Morris said: “It was so special jumping for a world record at it, the same time as Mondo, probably something I’ll never get to experience again. I don’t know if it has ever been done before that a man and a woman were making attempts on the world record at the same time. I only wish we had both made it but I guess we’ll save that for another day.
“Mondo has just been making history the last couple of weeks which is super inspiring and I just wanna get out there and participate in it. It’s so special to be part of that at the same time. Man, it’s so cool to watch him jump, watch him make an attempt because his jumps are so technically perfect. I was watching and imagining it for myself hoping that perhaps it might transfer onto the runway for me”.
Duplantis explained how watching Sandi Morris had inspired him: “I never got to watch someone attempt a world record I only got to live it, I guess. It was really cool to watch her and it really got me fired up. I know the feeling of it a little bit and I could see her on that runway. She loved the energy and I loved the crowd’s energy. We were two perfect people to be jumping side by side together. I hope we can do it more because I was really, really fun”.
Meet organizers please note the request for male and female vaulting at the same meet and simultaneously.
Finally, now that we have the vaulting out of the way, we can update you on Sandi Morris’ reptiles: “I don’t know the number I would have to count. I still have my three snakes and I’m getting an updated habitat for them, big enough for humans to get inside. My whole guest room is going to be dedicated to the reptiles. So three snakes, a big lizard, 15 little geckos, my two dogs and I have just got a new bird so I have two birds”.
*1993 Serge Bubka 6.14
2002 Svetlana Feofanova 4.74
2005 Yelena Isinbayeva 4.89