World Athletics President Sebastian Coe was one of the thousands of fans who tuned in to watch the ultimate garden clash involving Modo Duplantis Vs Renaud Lavillenie vs Sam Kendricks.
“I am so proud of these three talented athletes,” said Coe. “This is a brilliant initiative, great fun and really innovative. My thanks go to them, their families and the World Athletics team for bringing live athletics back during lockdown. I hope we can bring a few more events like this to bring to all athletics fans out there. Thank you to all of them and all our athletes staying home and training hard, for watching”.
In the end, France’s 2012 Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie and Sweden’s world record-holder Mondo Duplantis shared the honours in the inaugural Ultimate Garden Clash – Pole Vault Edition on Sunday (3), beating arch-rival Sam Kendricks in a unique three-way competition.
The contest, devised by the three pole vaulters, was a race to see who could produce the most 5.00m vaults within a 30-minute period, all from the comfort and safety of their own back gardens. Lavillenie was vaulting from his home in Clermont-Ferrand, Kendricks was competing from his back garden in Oxford, Mississippi, and Duplantis was taking part from his base in Lafayette, Louisiana.
At the end of the contest, Lavillenie and Duplantis had each successfully cleared a total of 36 five-metre vaults, beating Kendricks’ tally of 26. Following a brief discussion between the top two, they decided to share the victory.
“I’m done, I don’t want to take any risks,” said Lavillenie. “I’ll share the gold with Mondo.
“I was really missing the feeling I get competing. It’s crazy but even doing this in my garden, I get the same feeling I’d get at a major championships. It was very exciting and I’m very happy to be a part of it. I’m not going to do it every week, but I’m happy to do it once a year.”
Although he was prepared to continue competing for another three minutes to split the tie, Duplantis was happy to share the victory with his predecessor as world record-holder.
“It was really fun being out there competing against those guys,” said Duplantis. “I had really missed competing. I didn’t think it was going to end in a tie, but that’s sports!”
Kendricks, meanwhile, felt that the outcome may have been different had they been targeting higher heights.
“If the bar had been at 5.40m, maybe it would have been a different story,” said Kendricks, the only vaulter who didn’t record any failures. “Preparing for this was honestly my best training of the whole spring.”
World Athletics is exploring the possibility of holding other Ultimate Garden Clash competitions in the coming weeks.