Armand “Mondo” Duplantis, a 20-year-old Swede raised in Louisiana, broke a six-year-old record in the pole vault at an indoor meet on Saturday.
Duplantis cleared 6.17 meters — or 20 feet and nearly 3 inches — in Torun, Poland.
“It’s something that I wanted since I was 3 years old,” the dual citizen Duplantis said, according to World Athletics. “It doesn’t feel like it’s really happening right now. It kind of feels fake, this whole thing, like I didn’t actually break the world record, like there’s a catch to it or something.”
France’s Renaud Lavillenie held the previous overall record of 6.16 meters, set at an indoor meet in Ukraine in 2014. Ukrainian legend Sergey Bubka holds the outdoor world record of 6.14 meters, set in 1994.
“Have a good day baby,” Lavillenie texted Duplantis before Saturday’s meet, according to World Athletics, “but not too good.”
Duplantis, the world silver medalist, took three attempts at a world record at an indoor meet on Tuesday.
He and American Sam Kendricks, the two-time reigning world champion, traded head-to-head wins in the last year and are the Tokyo Olympic favorites. Kendricks broke an 18-year-old U.S. indoor record by clearing 6.01 meters at a different meet Saturday.
Duplantis is bidding to become the youngest Olympic pole vault champion since 1932, according to the OlyMADMen.
His mother, Helena, is a Sweden native and was a heptathlete and volleyball player growing up. His father, Greg, finished fifth in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials pole vault.
Duplantis grew up pole vaulting in his family backyard with older brother Andreas and became a prodigy, breaking age-group records as early as 7.
He spent summers in Sweden and competed in high school in Lafayette, La., through 2018. He competed one season for LSU before turning pro last year.
Another older brother, Antoine, is an outfielder drafted by the New York Mets in the 12th round last year.
“My emotions right when I landed in the pit, just yelling and just running around doing whatever,” Duplantis said. “I don’t think I had a brain for a second. Literally just living through the crowd.”
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— Mondo Duplantis (@mondohoss600) February 8, 2020