The Real Reasons Why Lafayette, Louisiana Native Mondo Duplantis Competes for Sweden
I have a confession. I don't know much about the art of pole vaulting.
What I do know is the best pole vaulter in history is a 21-year old from my hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana.
Armand "Mondo" Duplantis got me interested in the track and field event a few years ago when he began setting world records.
Tuesday morning, I watched the live stream of Duplantis's Gold Medal-winning jump, as well as his subsequent attempt afterward to break the pole vaulting world record of 6.18 m (20 ft 3+1⁄4 in), a world record currently owned by himself.
I was exhilirated.
As I was hosting my morning sports talk show, I multi-tasked in order to view Mondo reach new heights in his career.
If you're a resident of south Louisiana, chances are, I'll be rooting for you.
I can't wait to watch New Iberia native and former Louisiana Ragin' Cajun track star Morgann Leleux Romero compete in the women's pole vaulting final tomorrow.
Leleux Romero will be competing for the United States. Duplantis competes for Sweden.
The last few years, I've received a number of calls into my show, e-mails, and direct messages, all asking the same question.
Why doesn't Mondo compete for the U.S.?
Here are the real reasons why Mondo Duplantis competes for Sweden.
1. He's a citizen of Sweden and the United States. His mother is from Sweden. His Swedish grandparents don't even speak English. Despite lies and misinformation on social media that suggest Sweden paid Duplantis and fast-tracked his citizenship, the fact is, Duplantis has been a citizen of Sweden since his birth.
2. By competing for Sweden, Duplantis was able to start competing in pole vaulting at a younger age. Sweden does not have the same age restrictions on competing at the highest levels of the sport. The United States does.
3. As it pertains to the Olympics, Sweden selects their Olympians on the totality of their performance over several years, rather than an all-or-nothing Olympic trial.
4. It's more lucrative financially. Pole vaulting is popular in Sweden. It is not a mainstream sport in the United States. Mondo Duplantis is a national superstar in Sweden, viewed with the same regard by Swedes as the country's best soccer players. He was the 2020 World Athletics Male Athlete of the Year and is estimated to be worth millions.
5. Sweden offered to let Mondo's father Greg Duplantis, a former world-class pole vaulter himself, coach him on the Swedish team. The same offer was not made by the U.S. team. Mondo is still coached today by his father Greg, and mother Helena.
It's incredible to think Duplantis's best years are likely in front of him. How high can he soar?
I can't wait to find out.
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