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Duplantis already ‘excited’ about defending world indoor title in Glasgow, scene of his second world record

Mondo Duplantis already has a good feeling about Glasgow, where he plans to defend his pole vault title at the World Indoor Championships that will run from 1-3 March in the Commonwealth Arena.

Speaking in Monaco during the recent World Athletics Awards – where Duplantis won the newly instituted honour for men’s field events in 2023 – the 24-year-old Swede recalled the experience of setting his second world record of 6.18m in the Scottish city on 15 February 2020, just six days after he had earned his first with a 6.17m clearance in Torun.

After levering himself insouciantly over the bar at his first attempt, he stood triumphantly beside the landing area pit with his arms theatrically crossed. It looked like a statement.

“It was very important to me to show that the first world record wasn’t a fluke,” he recalled.

“It was like ‘This is what’s to come, this is what I am, this is the level I am competing at. I didn’t just happen to get over the 6.17m.’

“I wanted to show that I could do the next one, and do it even easier than the first one, so it was one of the competitions where I was most motivated coming into it. It was a different type of pressure of the first competition after just having broken the world record.”

So something like a “second album syndrome”?

“Yeah, kind of,” he said. “It’s like you just had a huge, huge commercial hit on the first one so you need to come up with something else.”

As for the arm-folding, he recalled: “I remember doing it. I think the way I felt, it was more just a natural thing that happened, and it was a bit more showboat-y than the first world record.

“Mentally I think the first world record was more like ‘Oh my God I can’t believe this is happening. I just broke the world record. This is like I’m dreaming.’

“Next time was more like ‘Yeah. This what I do. This is who I am. This is what’s to come. I’m that level.’

“And I think that was kind of the mentality. It was very confident, comfortable. That was more the feeling in me.”

He later donated his spikes from that world record performance to the Museum of World Athletics. The shoes will return to Glasgow in the new year and will be displayed for one month in an exhibition ahead of the World Indoor Championships.

The spikes that Mondo Duplantis wore when setting his 6.18m world record in Glasgow

The spikes that Mondo Duplantis wore when setting his 6.18m world record in Glasgow (© MOWA)

Since that moment in Glasgow, Duplantis – who turned 24 on 10 November – has set five more world records, most recently at the Wanda Diamond League Final in Eugene, where he cleared 6.23m.

So is it the case that it is easier to reach the heights indoors because of the obvious absence of fitful wind and weather?

“Yes,” he confirmed. “It’s a simple as that. It’s definitely easier indoors. The wind is really detrimental. When you are pole vaulting outside it makes everything complicated.

“Indoors it’s different – the approach in general, being able to grip as high as you want to, just the way you carry the pole.

“If you have any type of wind, either at the side or in your face, you kind of have to lower the tip of the pole a little bit and just kind of fight through the wind.

“Then I’m not able to grip as high because if I grip high then it’s heavier, so I can’t really keep my posture.

“I know that, for the most part, most of the competition outdoors I don’t really have as much of a chance to break the world record, because conditions-wise there’s always going to be a little bit of wind or a little bit of something going on that’s going to prevent me from being able to completely relax and let the run do itself.

“So indoors is definitely easier. It’s no secret. If you just watch me indoors I am a lot more consistent too, for the most part.

“It’s at the beginning of the season, but if it was outdoors followed by indoors I would definitely jump even higher indoors because then I would be more into the season.”

Mondo Duplantis celebrates his world pole vault record of 6.23m in Eugene

Mondo Duplantis celebrates his world pole vault record of 6.23m in Eugene (© Marta Gorczynska / Diamond League AG)

He smiles at the idea that his two outdoor records had, effectively, a higher degree of difficulty tariff.

“Yeah,” he said, “But the weather in Eugene was really good both times.”

He added that vaulting indoors involves an additional, intangible element.

“The bigger competitions are outdoors but I think intimate is the word for indoor competitions. And for me, just knowing I have better chances at the indoor competitions to break a world record, that gives me an extra kind of kick going into them.”

As he ticks off the world records around the world, of course, it means he has more places to return with encouraging memories. So will he have a good feeling when he goes back to Glasgow?

“Sure,” he said. “And I haven’t been there since that record. Yes, I have really good memories of it. I know that it’s a really good place to jump and I know that it’s a place that I can jump high. So I’m excited about it.”

Credit: World Athletics

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