Mondo Duplantis was the last athlete in action at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade and brought the curtain down on the event in stunning fashion when he cleared a world record 6.20m on Sunday (20)
It was his second revision in 13 days of the absolute standard for his event, coming in the wake of him clearing 6.19m at the World Indoor Tour Silver meeting in the Serbian capital on 7 March.
“What can I say? Two meets in Belgrade, two world records. I love this place,” said the thrilled and excited Swede, who made winning a gold medal on the global stage and setting a world record look disarmingly easy.
“Sometimes there are just things that you can't explain, they're just feelings and it seems like when I'm in Belgrade I have this feeling that I'm going to go high and do something really special.
“I feel like Belgrade is going to be a special place in my heart now forever. I'm a pretty happy man. I have something really special going on here: two world records and a world championships title, that's more than I can even dream of. There are no limits. 6.20m for the first time, it's hard to explain. It's something that you can only dream of.”
He was flawless with his four vaults up to his world record height, clearing 5.65m, 5.85m, 5.95m and 6.05m by huge margins.
His last height comfortably secured him the victory with Brazil’s Thiago Braz, his nearest rival and predecessor as Olympic champion, unable to go any higher than 5.95m. It was only at 6.20m that Duplantis started to look a little mortal at the end of a competition that lasted just a few minutes shy of four hours.
With his first two attempts at 6.20m, he hardly took off – “It was just some poor runs but I knew I was capable (of the height)" – but for his third attempt he showed his staggering mental strength to deliver the best jump in history.
In the air above the bar, there was significant daylight to spare and although he touched the bar on the way down with his chest – sending the bar pulsating vertically, it stayed up and Duplantis leapt off the bed in sheer delight before running into the arms of his girlfriend, the Swedish model Desiré Inglander.
“To be honest, I was just focussing on getting g the gold medal because I knew these guys (gesturing to Braz and the USA’s bronze medallist Chris Nilsen) could go to at least 5.95,” said Duplantis at the post-event press conference. “The world record was just a bonus.”
However, Duplantis also got a big bonus in his bank account as well. He earned a total of 90,000 for his efforts in Belgrade, $40,000 for his victory and another $50,000 as a world record bonus.
His win also continues a tradition of Swedish success in the jumps at these championships.
All Sweden’s previous seven men’s triumphs have come in this discipline, notably the four victories of high jumper Stefan Holm between 2001 and 2008, and who was in the Štark Arena on Sunday.
Also in the arena were his parents, Greg and Helena, who have guided his career since he first made an impact in his mid-teens before clearing six metres for the first time as an 18-year-old when he took his first major international title at the 2018 European Athletics Championships.
“Without them I wouldn’t have broken the world record. He (his father Greg) decides everything about the poles I use, when to use them, the grip.”
After four world records indoors, the question now is can Duplantis add to his tally outdoors this summer?
The focus of his attention is on getting gold medals at the World Athletics Championships and European Athletics Championships but with his elevation over the bar when it was set at 6.20m in Belgrade, only the foolish would rule out further improvements in the coming months.