There was no shortage of discussions around the new world record in the pole vault (6.23m) set Sunday by Swedish Olympic champion Armand Duplantis at the finals of the Diamond League of athletics in Eugene (Oregon, United States). Thibaut Collet, French pole vaulter finalist of the last Worlds, publicly praised the new great performance of the Swedish Olympic champion.
What is your view of this new feat of Duplantis?
THIBAUT COLLET. It always does us a little something, it's our sport. To see that a guy is alone in the world on his planet, it's weird, it's impressive for all the pole vaulters in the world. There is the top 5 in the world, four together, and he far ahead. Not sure that in the years to come there will be guys who manage to make him tremble. But hey, it's simple, we're used to it, he's an alien.
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Why is he so strong?
He is one of the fastest pole vaulters in history. In sprinting, he arrives the fastest. I am lucid in terms of potential, I do not have in my legs what Duplantis does, he is a Martian! It folds huge poles compared to its size, it has a catapult effect. The others try, but he has such a big reserve in speed that he gets projected. The weight/pole ratio is extraordinary, he uses numbers that are not proportional to his physique.
He sets the bar so high. Could it discourage other athletes?
What we can say is that it trivializes high performance in the pole vault. Passing the 6m barrier is already extraordinary. There are only about twenty of them who have done it, and they are the best in the world. But when he is 6 m, he is considered to underperform.
Do these records put distance between him and the rest of the athletes in the discipline?
No, because he's a great guy, he's got his feet on the ground and there's no harmful rivalry. Despite the records, he is not "alone against all". He is very nice to everyone, I remember after the final at the World Championship this summer, I am 5.90, and he congratulates me at the microphone of France TV. We did a lot of competitions together, and I had a great time with this guy, he's been a role model, a relentless man since he was little. This guy, he has the fiber as we say, he feels everything that does. He is gifted with discipline then, could take the big head but he does not.
How far do you think it can go?
Only he has the answer! (laughs) We can only watch, finally only admire. In my opinion, it will be between 6.25 m and 6.30/35 m. This winter, in Clermont-Ferrand [at the All Star Perche meeting] the jump of 6.22m is so huge, there is so much margin that we say maybe 6.30m, it would have done it. The guy makes world record after world record, so the limit is difficult to set. I'm sure he's going to be the greatest athlete in track and field history.