In a week where he has talked about breaking the world record, Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie is fast showing his actions are speaking louder than his words.
In what has become an incredible winter for the Olympic and five-times European pole vault champion, Lavillenie moved to second on the all-time list with a stunning performance of 6.08m at the 10th Pedro Cup indoor meeting in Bydgoszcz on Friday night.
Last Saturday in Rouen, he had broken his own French national record with 6.04m but instead of taking small steps towards the world indoor mark of 6.15m held by Sergey Bubka since 1993, Lavillenie has now made a huge climb.
His clearance of 6.08m puts him second behind Bubka, overtaking Australian Steve Hooker’s 6.06m from 2009, and both indoors and out, he is now second on the world rankings.
And Bubka’s record is so much in his sights after this epic series of vaulting at the European Athletics Permit meeting in Poland.
The packed crowd at the Lucznicka Hall thought they were actually going to see the record go as his three attempts at 6.16m were not far away from making history.
On February 21, it will mark 21 years since Bubka went over at 6.15m in Donetsk but will the record now last until that date? With the greatest irony, Lavillenie will be in the Ukrainian city on February 15 for the Pole Vault Stars meeting when he will bid again for 6.16m.
If the record does not go there, he has targeted the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot in six weeks time where he is the defending champion.
He is just in a class of his own at the moment and said after his achievement in Bydgoszcz:
“My second attempt at the world record was good but I was already tired, though on the other hand, I must admit I was seriously hoping to clear it.
“I do not want to speak about world records, but I want to improve in each competition and I want to thank the organisers who made my approach as long as I needed.”
Lavillenie, 27, began at a gentle height – for him at least – of 5.68m before needing two goes to erase 5.81m. He was just warming up as he showed by going over first time at 5.92m, then 6m before his magnificent 6.08m as he beat Poland’s Robert Sobera, second with 5.75m, and Poland's Piotr Lisek third with 5.68m.
It was an evening the people of Bydgoszcz will never forget and the sport awaits with anticipation for Lavillenie's next exploits.
Roll on Donetsk.