Lavillenie clears 5.61m in lockdown

Renaud Lavillenie
Getty Images

Renaud Lavillenie has been one of the most active athletes - both in terms of physical activity and on social media - during the lockdown in France which was imposed by the government as a response to the spread of COVID-19.

Lavillenie finds himself in a more fortuitous position than most athletes though. Stadiums and gyms across Europe have been closed indefinitely to prevent the spread of the virus but Lavillenie doesn’t need to venture too far from his front door to perfect his craft.

The 2012 Olympic champion has a 20-metre long pole vault runway constructed at home in his garden in Perignat-les-Sarlieve and Lavillenie has been making full use of it. After clearing 5.50m last week which his efforts posted on Instagram for posterity, the 33-year-old improved to 5.61m yesterday afternoon and is beginning to put his ‘home world record’ of 5.85m into view.

Lavillenie surprisingly exited in qualifying at the World Athletics Championships in Doha last autumn but the 33-year-old showed some glimmers of his very best form during the indoor campaign. 

At his home meeting in Clermont-Ferrand, Lavillenie cleared 5.80m, 5.87m and 5.94m on his first attempts - the latter his best performance indoors in four years - to finish second only to Armand Duplantis before recording his 150th 5.80m-plus competition of his venerable career at the French Indoor Championships in Lievin.

Any improvement on this tally has been put on hold with the early months of the summer campaign decimated due to the spread of the virus but Lavillenie is keeping in shape while in self-isolation. 

Documenting his efforts on his social media accounts to his thousands of followers around the globe, Lavillenie posted a video of himself lifting a set of car tyres in place of conventional weights. He has also posted a video of himself bench pressing his daughter and his wife Anais has also been involved in Lavillenie’s pursuits, climbing onto the former world record-holder’s shoulders so he could do a set of squats.