Mondo Duplantis: My plan for the 2022 season 

The Swedish Olympic champion has his sights set on winning his first World Championship title and also vaulting to new heights as he opens his Diamond League Series in Doha on Friday, 13 May.

By Evelyn Watta
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Raising the bar is what Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis does - in every sense of the word.

The athletics superstar is still flying high from setting two world records in March. The Swede raised the bar to 6.20m at the world indoor championships, just days after he had cleared 6.19m for the first time.

When you talk to him about his goals for the rest of the 2022 season, his answer is clear: Only his first World Championships title in Oregon this July and more world records will do .

The indoor and outdoor world record-holder has won Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020, a world indoor title, and he is also the European indoor and outdoor champion.

And then there is the defence of his Diamond League title.

Diamond League plans in Doha, Eugene and Oslo

Two months after clinching the World Indoors title, the 22-year-old is one of seven reigning Olympic champions opening his Diamond League campaign in Doha.

In 2020 he won all 16 of his competitions, setting three world records - 6.17m and 6.18m during the indoor season.

The highlight then was the Diamond League in Rome, where he cleared 6.15m - the highest outdoor vault in history, breaking Sergei Bubka’s 26-year-old world record.

He opened the 2022 season breaking the world indoor record twice in Belgrade, and the Diamond League series yet again offers him a good platform to better his outdoor record.

“My training has gone really well over the winter, and although it’s early season, I think the conditions in Doha will be conducive to jumping high. I cleared 5.82m at this event in 2020, so I’d certainly like to go closer to 6.00m this time around,” he said in an interview with the Diamond League organisers ahead of the season opener on 13 May.

In Doha, he will be up against London 2012 Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie, Chris Nilsen of the USA who took silver behind him in Tokyo and world bronze medallist Piotr Lisek of Poland.

Two weeks later, on May 27-28, he heads back to the country of his birth for the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

He will be up against fellow Tokyo Olympic medallists Nilsen and Thiago Braz Da Silva, two-time world champion Sam Kendricks and Frenchman Lavillenie.

Duplantis will then seek his third win at the Oslo Bislett Games on June 16 where he leads a star-studded field that includes the Rio 2016 champion Braz, Lavillenie and Kendricks.

The Diamond League will offer Duplantis the perfect tune-up for his ‘home’ championships.

The vaulter was born in Louisiana to an American father - Greg- and a Swedish mother - Helena - who both oversee his training.

The reigning Swedish athlete of the year opted to compete for the Nordic nation, where he commands a lot of attention.

Recently, in his mother’s hometown county of Dalarna, a sign with his name that measures the same height as one of his world records - 6.19m - was erected next to a well-known local monument - the Dala horse.

Duplantis: "A better jumper" after eye surgery

A towering celebration of one remarkable feat by an athlete who has stuck to a long family tradition.

His father was an international vaulter while his brothers Andreas and Antoine also practiced the sport.

But it’s only the younger Duplantis who began vaulting when he was four, who has hung on to the poles.

He accounted himself to the world when he vaulted over 5.90m at the Texas Relays in Austin in 2017, aged only 17.

Since then, he continues to raise the bar.

He is more focused and settled than ever before. He now lives in Stockholm with his model girlfriend, Desiré Inglander.

He’s facing his new season with laser focus.

Duplantis had laser eye surgery that changed his life and “opened up a whole new world”.

“My biggest fear has always been that there would be a problem with the contact lenses in the middle of a competition, especially in the big championships... That I would drop a contact lens or something. I have always had it in my mind and that thought stressed me. It became a fixed and recurring idea in the end in my head. Also, I have never felt comfortable with contact lenses, they have always irritated me the eyes a little,” he said to Aftonbaldet.

With one less thing to worry about as he takes to the runway, he is looking to soar higher than ever.

"I think the operation will make me a better jumper. Above all, it takes away my worry, that fear of something happening that always has eaten me inside.”

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