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Meet Greg Duplantis: Pole vault coach, father, American athlete (Includes interview)

Regarding his proudest moments in his pole vault career, he said, “When, I jumped 5.80 meters in Europe, I was proud of that. I also proud of almost making the Olympic team in 1996. I jumped 5.70 at the Olympic Trials.”

Duplantis is the coach and father of acclaimed teen pole vaulter Armand “Mondo” Duplantis, who is the world junior record holder in pole vault, with 5.90 meters. “That was fantastic! It is hard to describe how proud I am of him,” he said. “We weren’t really expecting that. At the beginning of the year, we were hoping for 5.70 meters, so that he can qualify for the 2017 World Championships, and we kept setting new goals, and we kept raising the bar. 5.90 meters was a surprise.”

He continued, “Coaching has been great. It is different than competing. It is harder in a lot of ways, but it is very rewarding.”

His plans for the future are for Mondo to compete at the Indoor World Championships in March of 2018 in Birmingham. “That’s a big thing for us,” he said. “Mondo will also compete at the World Junior Championships this summer. He is going to be more selective in a lot of his meets this year. We are focused on these two competitions next year!”

Duplantis’ advice for aspiring pole vaulters is as follows: “Keep working and don’t worry about anybody else. Worry about yourself. It’s a real complicated event. It has the physical, technical and the mental aspects to it. Everybody has their own pace. Continue to improve yourself.”

Mondo was able to successfully complete the first Sam Kendricks pole vault challenge, and most recently, Kendricks fulfilled a second challenge for pole vault athletes to jump 5.41 meters, 5.51 meters, 5.61 meters, 5.71 meters and 5.81 meters. When asked if Mondo would ever partake in this second challenge, the coach responded, “Mondo probably will. I think he will probably try that one,” he said.

Regarding the key to longevity in track and field, he said, “Trying to not overdo it. Obviously, injury prevention, and not doing too much too soon.”

Digital transformation of pole vault

On the impact of technology on pole vault, Duplantis said, “Certainly there was a big change when it went from rigid poles to fiberglass poles. Mondo is jumping on the same poles I jumped on. There is a big technological advance in video technology. I used to take 8 mm film and bring it to the development place, and it would take three to five days or sometimes up to a week to get it back and to look at it. Now you can look at videos instantaneously. That’s a technological innovation! I have some athletes that I coach, and their parents (mom and dads) would take videos for me and they would send them to me, and I would coach them in real time, while I am in a different city or a different country. That’s pretty crazy.”

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