Mondo Duplantis breaks pole vault world record again

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Armand “Mondo” Duplantis, a 20-year-old Swede, broke the pole vault world record for the second straight Saturday.

Duplantis, who last week broke the world record by one centimeter, again went one centimeter higher at an indoor meet in Glasgow. The record is now 6.18 meters, or a little taller than 20 feet, 3 inches.

“It’s really complicated, but I guess when you’re doing it right, it seems simple,” Duplantis, who earned a $30,000 bonus for the world record, said on the BBC.

The progression is reminiscent of Ukrainian legend Sergey Bubka. Bubka increased the world record by one centimeter on nine occasions from 1988-1994, taking advantage of bonus money each time he broke it.

Duplantis is a dual citizen born and raised in Louisiana, spending summers in his mother’s native Sweden.

His father, Greg, finished fifth in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials pole vault.

Duplantis grew up pole vaulting in his family backyard at age 3 with older brother Andreas and became a prodigy, breaking age-group records as early as 7.

He competed in high school in Lafayette, La., through 2018. He competed one season for LSU before turning pro last year.

Before last Saturday, Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie held the world record at 6.16 meters, set indoors in 2014. Bubka still holds the highest outdoor clearance of 6.14.

Duplantis is the Olympic favorite, but American Sam Kendricks is the two-time reigning world champion, relegating Duplantis to silver at last year’s worlds. Duplantis beat Kendricks on Saturday for the second time in two head-to-heads this year.

Duplantis is bidding to become the youngest Olympic pole vault champion since 1932, according to the OlyMADMen.

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Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

Joel Embiid
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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

Delta LA 2028
LA 2028
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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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