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How high can Armand Duplantis go?

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  • How high can Armand Duplantis go?

    With Duplantis's 6.17 Record du Mondo (groan!) tonight in Torun, I want to ask the question ... What will his PB (WR?) be when he retires from athletics?

    I'm going to say 6.25. Is that too conservative?

  • #2
    No idea, but he clearly can go higher. 6.20+ definitely looks possible.

    Got to be a bit depressing though being 20 and knowing that any improvement over the next decade will only be incremental at best. That could be the biggest test for him.

    i think Bubka was capable of this height and more but he only ever added 1cm at a time to keep banking the bonuses. We never saw what he was truly capable of.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ursus View Post
      No idea, but he clearly can go higher. 6.20+ definitely looks possible.

      Got to be a bit depressing though being 20 and knowing that any improvement over the next decade will only be incremental at best. That could be the biggest test for him.

      i think Bubka was capable of this height and more but he only ever added 1cm at a time to keep banking the bonuses. We never saw what he was truly capable of.
      With a good sponsorship deal, maybe he decides to just go for what he thinks he can vault? If he gets say close to a million a year from sponsors then $50,000 would be fairly small change!

      There's other goals I guess - hoovering up all the major titles and 6m competition streaks.

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      • #4
        In the short term I am sure Mondo will want to at least jump as high if not higher outdoors. Lavillenie had a bit of a disparity between his indoor and outdoor best. Mondo will want to prove he can jump as well when you have to deal with the weather challenges.

        I hope he doesn't always opt for the 1cm increase a la Bubka. He did opt against turning pro after Berlin to do a year in College so maybe money isn't his sole motivation.

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        • #5
          This is a very intriguing question!

          It got me checking some Bubka stats. In 1984, he set his first World records which were 5.81 indoors and 5.85 outdoors at a very similar age to what Mondo is right now (20 and a few months). Bubka's ultimate PB was 6.15. I agree he almost certainly would have vaulted higher than that. I suspect if he had the bar put at 6.20 every time he had clinched a comp and had decent conditions he would have fewer WRs to his name but would probably still be the record holder. So maybe, in different circumstances, he might have vaulted about 40cm higher than he did when just out of his teens.

          On bare statistics, based on the example of just one other athlete, that would suggest that perhaps young Mr Duplantis might be able to vault about 6.58!

          However, for several reasons I think that extremely unlikely-

          1) That might actually be beyond what any human can do barring some amazing breakthrough in pole technology that doesn't get outlawed.
          2) While the young Sergey was something of a vault prodigy there have been others whose results in their teens are comparable or slightly better e.g. Tarasov, Holzdeppe, Vigneron. It is statistically unlikely that the greatest teen prodigy yet will also improve as much as a senior as Bubka did.
          3) Competition - even if Duplantis goes out of his way to not take the Bubka approach of breaking records 1 cm at a time one thing that would motivate him to maximum improvement is having someone to really push him. Whether directly as in "I've cleared 6.20 but X has as well and is leading me on countback, so I've got to jump 6.25 or lose" or indirectly as in "Y vaulted 6.20 at his National Champs I need to be ready to go higher than that. It may be difficult for him to ever vault 6.30 if 6.00 is usually enough to win. One possible future rival is Sasha Zhoya who is currently based in Australia but has recently opted to compete for France (I think he has Franco/Russian ancestry).
          4) He has been vaulting to some degree since he was about 4 years old and therefore is likely to be more advanced in technique than almost any other person has been at his age which would limit his potential for improvement. Maybe a PV coach could enlighten us on this?

          Of course he has quite clearly got some physical maturing to come and therefore I am confident that, barring injury, illness or 'going off the rails' he has got plenty of improvement to come. My guess would be between 6.30 and 6.35 but he may peak at 6.24 and still dominate the event for years.

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          • #6
            Mondo’s progression from age 7. Film is of variable quality, but worth a watch.

            https://youtu.be/guSvVZ-3BrM

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            • #7
              Of course, athletes shouldn't specialise until at least age 16 ;-)

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