A little bit of athletic happiness came to fruition on 3 May. From backyards in France, Mississipi and Louisianna, 3 of the finest pole vaulters in the world competed. The setting was this: using social distancing, the 3 top vaulters competed to see who could clear the height of 5 meters the most in 30 minutes.
The actual session was two halfs of 15 minutes, witha five minute break. At the half, Mondo Duplantis lead, 18 clearances to 17 clearances from Air Lavilenie, and Sam Kendricks at 12. The second half was crazy, as Mondo kept pushing it, and Renaud Lavillenie took his last jump seconds before it ended, tying the young Swede, 36 to 36. Sam Kendricks was at 26 clearances at the end.
The original judement was to do a 3 minute tie breaker, but Renaud would have none of it. Mondo wanted a jump off, but it was decided that they would keep it at a tie.
A fun competition. Fine comentating, and good streaming as well! Let the season begin!
Live athletics has returned! In the inaugural Ultimate Garden Clash – Pole Vault Edition on Sunday (3) which was viewed by an audience in excess of 100,000 around the globe, France’s Renaud Lavillenie and Sweden’s Armand Duplantis shared the honours with two-time world champion Sam Kendricks finishing third.
The aim of the competition was for each pole vaulter to clear 5.00m as many times as possible from their respective locations – Lavillenie in Clermont-Ferrand, Duplantis in Lafayette, Louisiana and Kendricks in Oxford, Mississipi – within a 30-minute time-slot.
By the end of the contest, Lavillenie and Duplantis had each successfully cleared a total of 36 five-metre vaults, beating Kendricks’ tally of 26. The possibility of a jump-off was discussed between Lavillenie and Duplantis over video-link but the top two settled on sharing the spoils.
“I’m done, I don’t want to take any risks,” said Lavillenie, the oldest of the triumvirate at 33. “I’ll share the gold with Mondo.
He added: “I was really missing the feeling I get from competing. It’s crazy but even doing this in my garden, I get the same feeling I’d get at a major championships. It was very exciting and I’m very happy to be a part of it. I’m not going to do it every week, but I’m happy to do it once a year.”
Although he was prepared to continue competing for another three minutes to split the tie, Duplantis was ultimately happy to share the victory with his predecessor as world record-holder.
“It was really fun being out there competing against those guys,” said Duplantis. “I had really missed competing. I didn’t think it was going to end in a tie, but that’s sports!”
Missed it or want to watch it again? The contest can be watched in full on the World Athletics YouTube channel.