Armand Duplantis produced one of the great moments in the history of the Finnkampen as Sweden beat Finland in both the men’s and women’s competition this weekend.
The Olympic Stadium in Stockholm was setting for this year’s staging of a head-to-head which first began in 1925 - the world’s oldest international match - and Sweden now has the overall edge - 72 wins to 71 - in a match which initially was just a men’s event.
After leading narrowly overnight after the first day of this European Athletics Outdoor Area Permit Meeting, Sweden progressed over the course of the second day to triumph in the men’s competition - 228-181 - and the women’s competition - 217.5-192.5.
But those present in the Olympic Stadium will long remember the excitement and brilliance of pole vaulter Duplantis who delivered a special performance a fortnight before he competes in The Match Europe v USA ahead of the IAAF World Championships in Doha.
Duplantis has already assured his place in Swedish athletics history with his amazing performance in Berlin last summer when he won gold at the European Championships and now he is heading to Doha in sizzling form after soaring over six metres again.
He puffed out his cheeks, got the crowd going with their rhythmic clapping – including his Swedish teammates – before launching into a run up which saw him soar over the bar for a meeting record.
The noise was immense as he landed clear, pumping his fists in delight and then jumping on the back of the mascot for a ride around the arena in celebration.
The fact he only slightly brushed the bar showed how much he has left and though he attempted but failed at 6.07m, he has further signalled the world title will be within his grasp.
Duplantis was not the only Swede in record-breaking form as Perseus Karlstrom set a national record in producing a world-leading performance of 38:03.95 to win the 10,000m race walk.
After Duplantis and Karlstrom took the plaudits on the first day, the Sunday was a big day for discus throwing great Daniel Stahl as he returned to action after a groin injury – and he made his mark.
Stahl has won silver at the major championships over the past two summers and will surely be eyeing the top of the podium in Doha after victory with a meeting record of 69.42m in a Swedish clean sweep as Simon Pettersson (63.29m) was second and Niklas Arrhenius (61.05m) was third.
Importantly for Stahl, he was back with a bang as he reached his winning distance with his opening throw and followed it up with 69.39m before four fouls. One of his no-throwers was reportedly in excess of the 71 metre-line.
His teammate Kim Amb was in superb form, too, as he broke his javelin personal best in the first round with 85.59m which gave him victory from Finland's Lassi Etelatalo with 82.15m.
The Swedish points haul was embellished by sprint doubles from European U23 champion Henrik Larsson in the 100m in 10.24 and the 200m the following day in a slightly wind-aided 20.54 while Irene Ekelund set season’s bests to win both the 100m in 11.44 and 200m in 23.50. The Finns, however, won both 4x100m relays.
In-form Yolanda Ngarambe also demonstrated her versatility by winning a middle distance double: clocking 4:10.20 in the 1500m and then 2:02.98 the following day in the 800m. Ngarambe won maximum points for Sweden over 3000m at the European Athletics Team Championships Super League in Bydgoszcz a fortnight ago.
Saturday night saw Sweden’s Angelica Bengtsson fail to record a height in the pole vault at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris but there was no fall out from that a day later as she won with 4.61m while teammate Fanny Roos reached 18.00m to win the shot put, completing a Swedish double in the event as Wictor Pettersson won the men’s competition with 20.19m.
The Finns had to settle for second in both competitions but there was still a sprinkling of notable performances from the visitors. In particular, the 100m hurdles proved a great success as the Finns achieved a clean sweep courtesy of Annimari Korte winning in 12.85 from Nooralotta Neziri (12.92) and Reetta Hurske (13.09).
Camilla Richardson (9:55.64) and Janice Rauma (9:59.94) made it a Finnish one-two in the 3000m steeplechase and Kristian Pulli won the long jump with a wind-aided 8.10m - and a wind legal 8.05m - to beat pre-competition favourite Thobias Montler who improved to 7.99m with his last effort.
Full results here.