With age, he learned to be patient.
While Renaud Lavillenie had returned to 6 m this winter in pole vault (6.02 in January, then 6.06 m in February), he had to give up the European Indoor Championships in March because of a calf injury.
"I had had two or three small alerts at the beginning of the year, but as I was doing good performances, I said to myself that it was not serious and I jumped, despite this zone of weakness, admits the pole vaulter. 34 years old.
This call to order and this lack of vigilance allowed me to understand that I was no longer 20 years old.
It is once again in his stronghold of Clermont-Ferrand that the Frenchman has rebuilt himself, between daily care and physical preparation.
"I no longer have any sequelae, I no longer have any particular pain, the calf is nickel, my first pole vault sessions were much better than expected," describes the pole vaulter.
I have known more sluggish recoveries… ”
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Sunday, during a competition in Poznan (Poland) which dragged on, the pole vaulter stuck at 5.55 m, a week after having crossed 5.80 m during his recovery.
"Yes, I am 34 years old, but I am finding benchmarks that allow me to aim for what I was achieving this winter," he assures us.
This injury handicapped me six weeks, but these performances beyond 6m are in the head.
The body has not forgotten.
When I see what I have achieved this winter after complicated seasons, I am not under pressure, on the contrary.
Flag bearer ?
" The icing on the cake "
Even if he jumps on Sunday June 20 in Chorzow (Poland), Renaud Lavillenie will not meet Armand Duplantis, known as “Mondo”, which already rises to 6.10 m, only on July 1, during the Oslo meeting. That is to say a few weeks before the great Olympic confrontation. “Being lucid, if the Games had taken place in 2020, I could have played for the bronze medal and, in a big day, the silver, but little more. A year later, with my winter performances, it's different. Mondo is clearly able to jump higher than me, but I'm not going to tell myself that I'm going to the Olympics to be second! The goal is to fight for the gold. But in Tokyo, I'll be the underdog, not the favorite. "
For his third Olympic Games, Renaud Lavillenie would also see himself taking on the role of standard bearer. These are French athletes who will vote in early July to elect a sportsman and a sportswoman. "It would be the icing on the cake, a bonus loaded with symbols," admits the athlete. I would be very honored, very happy, but, if that does not happen, it will not be serious. There are so many great things to experience at the Olympics. Renaud Lavillenie knows something about it, he who won gold in London in 2012, then silver, four years later, in Rio.