THE 5 FIXTURES that wrapped up the Gold portion of this year’s World Indoor Tour — chronologically: Staten Island, Liévin, Birmingham, Toruń, Madrid — each received their own stories earlier in this edition, but there was, of course, notable action elsewhere, with Boston and Chicago also getting separate-story treatment. Other pro highlights:
Kerr Miles World-Leading 3:48.87
Boston University’s lightning-quick oval coughed up more sizzling mile times at the Boston Last Chance meet. Olympic 1500 bronze medalist Josh Kerr showed that he will be a force to reckon with this year as well, moving to No. 3 on the all-time list with his 3:48.87.
“I’ve worked my whole career to get to these moments where I’m even in the conversation,” he told the BBC. “I’ve always known I’ve been in the conversation but now external people are saying, ‘Josh actually has a chance.’”
The 24-year-old Scot, who ran for New Mexico collegiately, trails only Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha (3:47.01) and Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj (3:48.45) on the all-time indoor list. He ran his last 200 in 28.69, last 400 in 56.83 in taking almost 4 seconds off his PR. He also moved to No. 8 on the all-time 1500 list with his en route 3:32.86.
In a race where the first 8 PRed, Cameron Proceviat was 2nd with a Canadian Record 3:52.54 and the Oregon pair of Jack Yearian (3:54.54) and Reed Brown (3:54.77) moved to Nos. =8 and 11 on the all-time collegiate list in 3rd and 4th.
Mondo On A Tear In The Vault
Mondo Duplantis presaged his Birmingham win with a trio of world-leading meets. He opened at Karlsruhe (January 28) by making his highest season-opener ever, 19-9 (6.02). That took the yearly world lead from KC Lightfoot’s 19-4 (5.91) to win the Pole Vault Summit (January 14).
Mondo’s meet No. 2 came in Berlin (February 04), where another first-try clearance upped the WL to 19-9¼ (6.03). His second and third attempts at a WR (6.19) were close.
On February 09 Mondo hosted an elite affair at his home base in Uppsala, Sweden, with Chris Nilsen and Lightfoot among the others in the 11-man field. Duplantis was perfect through another WL height, 19-9¾ (6.04). Nilsen and Lightfoot went 2-3, each clearing 19-5 (5.92).
On the women’s side, Anzhelika Sidorova opened up 3-for-3 in the WL department, scaling 15-9 (4.80) in Moscow, 15-11 (4.85) in Liévin and 15-11¾ (4.87) in Clermont-Ferrand.
American Record Vault For Nilsen
On the same day that Mondo was raising the yearly WL to 19-9¼ (6.03), Chris Nilsen, jumping in Tourcoing, France, upped Sam Kendricks’ ’20 American Record by a centimeter to 19-9 (6.02).
In becoming a member of the elite 6-meter club, Nilsen also equaled the highest indoor mark ever by an American, Jeff Hartwig having cleared a never-ratified (but statistically acceptable) 19-9 in ’02.
Nilsen had a perfect day in his second meet of the season, clearing 18-2, 18-6, 18-10, 19-¾, 19-5 & 19-9 (5.54, 5.64, 5.74, 5.81, 5.92, 6.02) all on first attempts. Former WR holder Renaud Lavillenie was 2nd at 19-¾ (5.81).
World Record In Women’s DMR
The newly named Nike Union Athletics Club has already stamped its name into the record books, and Spokane’s newly opened facility, The Podium, has its first record hosting.
This newness came from the Nike foursome of Ella Donaghu (3:16.01), Raevyn Rogers (52.68), Sinclaire Johnson (2:02.89) & Shannon Osika (4:28.33) combining for the fastest distance medley ever, 10:39.91, at the Lilac GP on February 11. The old best in an event that WA doesn’t recognize as a WR discipline was 10:40.31 by Team USA in ’17.
NUAC’s Donavan Brazier, coming back from the foot problem that derailed his Olympic hopes, showed fine form in the 600, his 1:13.97 missing his own WR by just 0.20.
And Another AR For Nilsen
Continuing to soar the heights, Nilsen let his American Record last only 30 days before taking it down in Rouen (March 06). The 24-year-old cleared 7 bars on his first attempts before requiring two tries at 19-8½ (6.01).
Then he had it raised to 19-10¼ (6.05), a full 3cm over his February mark and equal to Mondo’s yearly world leader. On his first attempt, he cleared easily with plenty of height and nary a brush against the bar and he also moved to No. 5 on the all-time indoor list (=No. 6 in an absolute sense).
“After making 5.91 [19-4¾] on my first attempt I said, ‘I think I can make 6.01 today.’ And then with how high I was over the bar at 6.01 I thought I could probably jump higher so I put the bar at 6.05 and it was good,” he said. “It looked easy, but it’s never easy. Training is good and that’s why we’re having a good easy time right now.”
And Finally Another WR For Mondo
Finally. After what seemed like a million attempts at the height since his previous WR on February 15, 2020 (actually, it was “only” 50 misses), Mondo Duplantis soared over a World Record 20-3¾ (6.19) in Belgrade’s Štark Arena (March 07).
He cleared 18-4¾ (5.61), 19-2¼ (5.85) and 19-8¼ (6.00) on first attempts before facing off once again with what had become his nemesis bar.
On attempt 1, he came close but brushed the bar off. Attempt 2, good height over the bar, but he was not lined up right and he brought it down.
Finally, on try No. 3, he put it all together, charging down the runway at top speed, planting and soaring as only he can do. A slight brush with his thighs — and perhaps his chest — left the bar wobbling, but it stayed.
He celebrated with extreme joy, saying, “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve never had a height quite give me the trouble like that ever in my entire life, and I’ve been jumping for a very long time.
“It’s a very good feeling because it was really hard-fought these past two yeas to try to get over that next barrier. I’m really happy.”
He reflected further, “I don’t think this is the highest I’m ever going to jump. There’s going to be a lot more to come. A height like 6.19, it demands perfection. All the numbers have to be right. I just figured it out on that last attempt and I was able to get over it finally.” ◻︎