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article imageMondo Duplantis talks world junior record, pole vault and future Special

By Markos Papadatos     Apr 7, 2018 in Sports
Acclaimed pole vaulter Armand "Mondo" Duplantis chatted with Digital Journal about his indoor and outdoor world junior records in pole vault, as well as his plans for the future, which include The Pre Classic and European Championships.
This past February, Duplantis jumped 5.88 meters in France, which was an indoor world junior record. "That was a great competition. It was a great meeting, and I had a slow indoor season, where I didn't jump as much as I did last year. It was a good result," he said.
More recently, on March 31, Duplantis jumped 5.92 meters at the Texas Relays for a new outdoor world junior record. "It was great. For sure, it was a good jump and a good leap. I was really satisfied with the result. I hope for more for the outdoor season," he said. "I tried some new poles and they worked out good. Hopefully, I can jump higher on them"
The teenage pole vaulter signed with Louisiana State University, thus following his family's footsteps. "It's an honor, for sure, and I can't wait to start," he said.
Each day, Duplantis is motivated by his drive "to be the best." "I will never quit until I become the best," he said. "My goal is to jump six meters in the near future. That would be great."
When asked if he would ever attempt the second Sam Kendricks challenge from 2017 (5.41 meters, 5.51 meters, 5.61 meters, 5.71 meters and 5.81 meters, all in less than 30 minutes), Duplantis said, "That's a good question. Possibly. I haven't thought about it that much. Maybe so. I might try it out. That one is hard for sure. That's a hard one."
A few years back though, Duplantis had smashed the first Sam Kendricks challenge, where he completed 10 jumps over 5.50 meters, in less than 30 meters.
Mondo Duplantis' greatest influences in life are his mother, Helena, and father, Greg Duplantis, who are his trainer and coach respectively. "My mom is my physical trainer that trains me every single day, except the two days a week that I pole vault. That is when my dad steps in and coaches me," he said.
His proudest professional moments included winning the gold medal at the World Youth Championships. "That was one of my favorite moments," he said.
He also shared that he is very good friends with Greek pole vaulter Emmanuel Karalis, who is affectionately known as "Manolo." "We have had a great friendship ever since the World Youth Championships," he said. "I like when Manolo is doing good since it motivates me to do better. When he jumped 5.78 meters, it was good, since I might have not jumped 5.88 meters. We push each other to be the best we can be."
He admits the pole vault community is very tight-knit and unique, more than any other track and field sport. "We are our own little family," he said.
This May, Duplantis is looking forward to The Pre Classic in Eugene, Oregon, which is held annually in memory of the late American track and field legend Steve Prefontaine. "That was a good competition last year. I think I will jump well there. It's a great competition, and a great place to jump," he said.
Armand Duplantis and Sam Kendricks
Armand Duplantis and Sam Kendricks
Courtesy of Sam Kendricks
This summer, Duplantis is stoked for the European Championships in Berlin, and he is up for the challenge. "I am very excited. It's going to be great, and really hard," he said.
Digital transformation of athletics
On the impact of technology on the sport of pole vault, Duplantis said, "It is pretty much the same poles, but it's the different techniques that people didn't know back then."
He feels that the bio-mechanical analysis data is cool, but is unsure about how helpful they are. He shared that he has used GoPro, where he allows his viewers to see his jumps from his own perspective. In his pole vault routine, for the most part, Duplantis is "old school" and refrains from using technology too much.
Mondo Duplantis defined the word success as "getting better" and "improving." "As long as you are improving yourself, then you don't have to be the best in the world. As long as you are getting better every day, you are succeeding in what you are doing," he said.
To learn more about pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis, follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
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