“I feel like I live a pretty normal life for a normal college student,” Armand “Mondo” Duplantis says.
With a 6.05 meter pole vault seen around the world, the under-20 record for pole vaulting was smashed. And that pole vault will go down as the fourth best jump of all-time, regardless of age.
So maybe it’s a different kind of normal for the LSU freshman --- the record-breaking, jumping in front of thousands of people kind of normal.
“It’s like a college student just a little less of the partying and a little bit more of the training,” Duplantis says.
The Swedish-American has been training since he was four years old.
“I grew up with a pole vault pit in my backyard,” Duplantis says. “So not your usual backyard setup. I watched my older brothers pole vault when I was just a little baby. I wasn’t quite tall enough, fast enough strong enough to make it on top of the mat. So I was just messing around in the living room and jumping on the couches with whatever sticks and whatever kind of little tiny fiberglass poles that we would have.”
From his living room in Lafayette, Louisiana to the European Athletics Championship in Berlin, Duplantis was born to fly. And his love for pole-vaulting is generational. His mom Helena, a Swedish-native, was a heptathlete at LSU while his dad Greg pole-vaulted for the Tigers in the 1980s and now coaches Mondo.
“I don’t do anything to make him love it like he does,” Greg says. “You can’t really. I don’t think. I’m real proud of him. Just couldn’t be prouder. He’s just a great competitor. He’s got so much passion for the event.”
Duplantis’ passion for the sport is fueled by his competitive nature, which older brother and current LSU baseball player Antoine experienced early on.
“I kind of take a little bit of credit growing up,” Antoine says. “I kind of kept him competitive because when I would jump, he would have somebody to jump against.”
Competing against the world’s best at such a young age, Duplantis has jumped to an enormous amount of success. But he says he still has more goals to run toward.
“I’d like to win the Olympic goal medal,” Duplantis says. “I would like to win the world championships. I would like to accomplish everything you can accomplish as a track and field athlete. It’s a good start to my career but I feel like I have a lot of things left to accomplish.”
And he’ll continue that career this spring, representing the Duplantis legacy in his first season as an LSU Tiger. Then on to Tokyo, going for gold in 2020.