Silver medalist Bjorn Otto of Germany, gold medalist Renaud Lavillenie of France and bronze medalist Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany pose on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men's Pole Vault of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 (© Getty Images)
With now only three weeks to go until the start of the IAAF Indoor Permit series, the Indoor Meeting in Karlsruhe will have a mouth-watering clash in what is arguably the nation’s best event, as one of the highlights of the six-meeting series.
On 2 February, the Karlsruhe Europahalle will play host to a rematch of the men’s Pole Vault final from both the Olympics and European Championships as the three medallists are reunited. France's Olympic and European champion Renaud Lavillenie will take on German duo Bjorn Otto and Raphael Holzdeppe, who both took silver and bronze respectively at the Olympics and European Championships.
Lavillenie was the only athlete in any event to have won gold at the World Indoor Championships, European Championships and Olympic Games during the 2012 season.
He has been the leading vaulter of the past few years, although he is not unbeatable – as both Otto and Holzdeppe know from personal experience. The pair defeated Lavillenie at the Samsung Diamond League meeting in London in July, while Holzdeppe also came out on top when he took on Lavillenie on home soil indoors in Lievin.
Otto also ended his 2012 summer season on a high – quite literally – when he bettered Lavillenie’s world-leading mark by setting a German record of 6.01m, joining the very elite six-metre club.
That, of course, is a club to which Lavillenie already belongs, having first cleared that barrier in 2009 and then again indoors in 2011.
Indeed, Lavillenie excels indoors, having won the 2012 World Indoor title as well as the past two European Indoor titles. And with quality opposition in Karlsruhe in February, the meeting record of 5.80m – shared by Michael Stolle and Sergey Bubka – could well be under threat.
In addition to the men's Pole Vault, other events at the Indoor Meeting in Karlsruhe include the 60m Hurdles, 800m, 1500m and 3000m for men, and the Long Jump, 60m, 60m Hurdles, 1500m and 3000m for women.
The women's 60m will feature the last two European 100m champions, Germany's Verena Sailer and Bulgaria's Ivet lalova, who won in 2010 and 2012 respectively.
Jon Mulkeen and Organisers for the IAAF