By Philip O’Connor
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis described the postponement of the Tokyo Games as a “bummer”, having set his sights on gold after breaking the world record twice this year.
The 20-year-old Duplantis, who is currently staying at the home of his American father and Swedish mother in Lafayette, Louisiana, is trying to make the best of the situation after the Games were postponed to 2021.
“It’s a bummer, it’s a bummer that I won’t be able to compete in the Olympics this year, but you have to understand the situation, understand that some things are a little bigger than sport, and I guess we’ll have it next year,” he told Reuters in a Skype call.
The Covid-19 pandemic has limited Duplantis’s ability to train, forcing him to get creative.
“I’m pretty much just training in the backyard, we have a little track out here … we’re fixing it up a little bit where maybe I’ll be able to jump a little bit. Not too high, maybe just over four-sixty or so, but so I have the pole in my hands, get a little bit of the feeling.
“It’s not what I expected to be doing at this time of the year, but it’s what the situation called for.”
Jumps of 4.60 meters are a long way short of the 6.17m and 6.18m that he cleared to break the world record twice in eight days in early February.
All thoughts of medals and new records, however, are now on hold and he had a message for his fellow athletes and fans.
“Think about other people, not just yourself, not just what you want to do at that certain time, and everything should work itself out,” he said.
(Editing by Toby Davis)