Duplantis, 18, clears 6.05m to shatter championship record in the pole vault

Armand Duplantis
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Armand Duplantis shattered the championship record with 6.05m to win the pole vault title at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships

In a pole vault which will be talked about for years, 18-year-old Armand Duplantis brought the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships to the most spectacular, breathtaking and, disbelieving, conclusion.

If anyone thought he was a superstar of the future, the future is here. Duplantis won gold by breaking his personal best - and his world U20 record - by an incredible 12 centimetres, at times just sailing over the bar like it was not there.

It was a display of agility that has rarely been seen by someone so young in the pole vault, not even the great Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie. He was chasing a fourth European gold and while he ended with bronze, he provided the championships with another of its great moments.

When Duplantis, who had spent 10 days training with him in France, went over both the magical 6.00m barrier and then 6.05m, Lavillenie rushed over to cuddle and celebrate like the achievement was his own.

It was a glorious scene, proof that sportsmanship can triumph even in the heart of such drama when one man has seen his golden chances just about disappear.

Lavillenie knew the European crown was being handed over to this American-based youngster who could dominate the event for the next decade and beyond.

Let's not forget Lavillenie is 31 and remains at the top. But no longer the very top as Duplantis showed what a championships this has been for the teenage brigade following the double gold glory of Norway's 17-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

As with Ingebrigtsen, sport really does run in the family as Duplantis' father and coach Greg was a 5.80m pole vaulter himself – his mother Helena was a heptathlete.

Starting the evening with a personal best of 5.93m, Duplantis was alway likely to be among the medals just weeks after winning the world U20 title in Tampere.

But to go from 5.93m to 6.05m - all on his first attempt as well - is a climb of epic proportions as he leaped about in delight each time he landed and the bar stayed put. He was also vaulting on new poles for the first time as well. "I had to switch the poles at the higher heights for the ones I have never used before in the competition," he said.

It was 24 years to the day that Russia’s Rodion Gataullin had set the championship record height of 6.00m in Helsinki but first Duplantis went over this with no trouble and then he was followed by Authorised Neutral Athlete Timur Morgunov.

But when Duplantis cleared 6.05m, there was no way back for the rest. They just had no response.

Morgunov failed three times at 6.05m and after knocking the bar over at 6.00m, Lavillenie could not make it at 6.05m.

But the Frenchman knew he was part of a special occasion. He said of Duplantis: "He is not yet 20, he is a good friend and what he did today was just amazing."

Duplantis entered the competition at 5.50m and he cleared that height - and 5.65m at the first attempt - passing at 5.75m, failing first time at 5.80m before succeeding at the next go and then came the real sensation. He had first time clearances at 5.85m, 5.90m, 6.00m and 6.05m. It was the dream series on the dream night.

But perhaps we should not be surprised. The rise of Duplantis has seen him deliver at age group levels consistently.

He was the world U18 champion at the age of 15 in 2015 and the following he won bronze at the World U20 Championships before last summer taking European U20 gold in Grosseto.

Last month in Tampere, he set a championship record of 5.82m at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, taking gold by 27 centimetres - the perfect platform for Berlin.

Not that anyone here could have expected to witness a performance as mesmerising as this one.