Tokyo previews – Men’s Pole Vault

Probably the friendlist event in athletics, it’s also one that’s been flying over the last couple of years. World record holder Armand “Mondo” Duplantis will start as favourite but a win in Tokyo would be his first global title. To do so he will have to beat a whole host of serious challengers. Here’s our men’s pole vault preview for the Tokyo Olympics.


Saturday 31 July 01:40 UK Time (Heats) Tuesday 3 August 11:20 UK Time (Final)

2021 highest jumps

2021 RankingHeight (m)AthleteCountry
16.1Armand DuplantisSweden
25.92Renaud LavillenieUSA
25.92Christopher NilsenUSA
25.92Sam KendricksUSA
55.87Ernest John ObienaPhilippines 
65.85KC LightfootUSA
65.85Timur MorgunovRussia
85.82Piotr LisekPoland
85.82Thiago BrazBrazil
105.81Sondre GuttormsenNorway

British interest

Harry Coppell makes up the British team. A World Youth Champion in 2013 he jumped 5.85 to break the British record in 2020 and will need to approach that height to give himself a chance of the final.

The favourites

Four of the world’s best ever vaulters make up the Tokyo field. Armand Duplantis has jumped higher outdoors than any other (6.15m), Sam Kendricks is third on 6.06, Renaud Lavillenie joint 4th on 6.05 and Thiago Braz is the defending champion, eight best of all time and Olympic record holder with 6.03. The fact Piotr Lisek (6.01) and Timor Morgunov (6.00) has also jumped six metres or over shows this is perhaps the toughest Olympic Pole Vault competition ever.

Kendricks is of course the world champion, from both 2017 and 2019 and has even defeated Duplantis this year in terrible conditions in Gateshead. So whilst Duplantis has jumped so much higher than anyone else there are others with better global credentials. A touch harsh on the 21 year old Swede I will admit.

Thiago Braz will hope the big occassion will bring the best out of him but the empty Olympic stadium of Tokyo will be far different to the home crowd that cheered him on to Olympic gold in Rio.

Neutral athlete, as far as an Authorised Neutral athlete that wears a Russia flag can be neutral, Timur Morgunov has won all his competitions this year, all held within Russia so may yet surpise a few. Piotr Lisek has won three global medals and may yet win more for Poland.

Our medal predictions

  1. Armand Duplantis
  2. Sam Kendricks
  3. Timur Murgonov


WR: 6.18m (Indoors) Armand Duplantis (2020)

OR: 6.03m Thiago Braz (2016 Rio)

Featured image “File:Armand Duplantis jumps 6.0 meters-1.jpg” by Frankie Fouganthin is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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