(Reuters) -Sweden’s Armand Duplantis made the extraordinary look almost routine yet again as he broke his own pole vault world record, clearing 6.23 metres at the Eugene Diamond League finale on Sunday.
The performance shaved one centimetre off his previous best of 6.22 set in France in February.
It was the seventh world record for the back-to-back world champion, who soared over the rest of the field at the season-ending meeting as EJ Obiena of the Philippines finished second with 5.82 and American Sam Kendricks took third with 5.72.
The fans at Hayward Field held their breath as the Olympic champion Duplantis nudged the bar when he cleared the record height, before erupting with cheers.
With his family there to witness the occasion, Duplantis jumped up and down in joy before sprinting to his team, who hoisted him into the air.
“I don’t remember the jump. I’m dead serious… I just knew that it was going to be really close,” he said in televised remarks.
“I knew that when I was over the bar just to not panic because I knew I was going to have to squeeze over a little bit. I don’t know, I just looked up and the bar was still there – I don’t know, it’s hard to explain.”
The record-breaking performance was exactly how he wanted to end his extraordinary season after he tried and failed to clear his own record mark at the world championships in Budapest.
He is expected to be one of the biggest attractions in athletics at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“It was the most family I’ve had at a competition since high school. So that’s an unbelievable feeling, especially because those are the people I want to make the most proud,” said Duplantis.
“Could be a worse way to end (the year). I feel good about it – nice to go out with a bang.”
It was the second world record that the crowd in Eugene witnessed on Sunday, after Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay smashed the women’s 5,000 metres world record with a run of 14 minutes 00.21 seconds.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New YorkEditing by Toby Davis)
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