Pole Vaulter Armand Duplantis Trained in His Backyard Before Winning Gold at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 08/16/2021, 11:18 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s Pole Vault – Medal Ceremony – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 4, 2021. Armand Duplantis of Sweden celebrates with his gold medal REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson


Armand Duplantis did not let the absence of fans curb his momentum heading into the Tokyo Olympics this year. The Swedish Pole vaulter raced past the competition to win gold and secure his position as the best in the world at the sport. 

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During the lockdown, several athletes complained of the lack of access to training resources and struggled to keep up with schedules. The never-ending situation prompted them to look towards other methods of training to adapt to the circumstances. 

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s Pole Vault – Final – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 3, 2021. Armand Duplantis of Sweden in action REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel

With his usual training center in Louisiana State University closed, Duplantis had nowhere to train for the Tokyo Olympics. This was when his father decided to improvise and created a new training center in their backyard! 

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“Which is where I started jumping,” Duplantis said, speaking to Golf Digest. “My father built a track for me, with a pit and a mat. Anyway, I went back there. It wasn’t high-quality stuff, but it was enough to keep a pole in my hands. My event is just like golf in that you have to practice a lot. It’s so specific, it needs time.”

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s Pole Vault – Final – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 3, 2021. Armand Duplantis of Sweden in action REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Armand Duplantis made the world learn his name in Tokyo

Duplantis had so much on his mind heading to Tokyo. World Champion Sam Kendricks (USA) was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19 in the Olympic Village itself. Renaud Lavillenie of France and Thiago Braz of Brazil were his main competitors. 

Braz had won Gold in Rio five years ago, denying Lavillenie a successful title defense, and was ready to begin his own defense. However, Duplantis was ahead of the curve. The Swede dominated the event, proving himself far more superior than other competitors. 

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s Pole Vault – Final – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 3, 2021. Armand Duplantis of Sweden in action REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

In what was his first Olympic Games, the 21-year-old seemingly eased past what the veterans struggled in. Duplantis, having already won gold, decided to go for his own world record at 6.18m. Setting the bar at 6.19m, he failed to clear it in all three attempts. He came within a whisker of doing it on his first try, but an unlucky graze off his chest saw the bar fall down. 

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The Silver medallist likened Duplantis to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Silver medallist Christopher Nilsen lauded Duplantis after the event, comparing him to the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in ‘bursting into the scene’ as he humbled the established stars of the sport so noticeably. 

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Athletics – Men’s Pole Vault – Medal Ceremony – Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – August 4, 2021. Gold medalist Armand Duplantis of Sweden, silver medalist Chris Nilsen of the United States, and bronze medalist Thiago Braz of Brazil pose with their medals REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Indeed, the world is at the feet of Armand Duplantis in Pole vault, but with the heights he’s able to clear, his head may well be up in the clouds after Tokyo. 

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Luke Dias

1547 articles

Luke Dias is a senior WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports, having published more than 1000 articles on professional wrestling. Having completed courses in Advanced Writing from the University of California and Media and Ethics from the University of Amsterdam, Luke is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Xavier’s College. His tremendous knowledge of WWE history enables him to make past connections, adding depth to the articles.

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