Renaud Lavillenie celebrates his meeting record of 5.92m in Reno (© Kirby Lee)
In just his second competition of the year, world athlete of the year Renaud Lavillenie scaled a world-leading height of 5.92m to break the meeting record at the Pole Vault Summit in Reno on Friday night (16).
The Olympic champion, who had opened his season last week in Aubiere with 5.80m, began his series in Reno with first-time clearances at 5.65m and 5.80m. He surprisingly lost his lead at the next height, though, as USA’s World University Games champion Sam Kendricks went over 5.86m at the first time of asking, adding five centimetres to his outright PB.
But Lavillenie kept his cool. He skipped right to the next height of 5.92m and needed just one attempt to clear it, breaking Jeff Hartwig’s meeting record of 5.91m set 16 years ago.
Kendricks also attempted that height, but was unsuccessful. Lavillenie then had the bar raised to 6.00m, but ended with three failures. Britain’s Steve Lewis was third with 5.65m.
“So happy, tonight was a really good competition,” Lavillenie said on his Instagram account. “Sounds good for the winter season.”
Lavillenie opened his record-breaking 2014 campaign with the same two competitions, clearing 5.84m in Aubiere and 5.75m in Reno.
Like Lavillenie, European silver medallist Ekaterini Stefanidi made it two wins out of two competitions so far in 2015, winning the women’s event with a season’s best of 4.60m.
That contest was much closer. USA’s Becky Holliday led after clearing all heights up to and including 4.50m on her first attempt. Stefanidi and USA’s Mary Saxer needed two attempts to negotiate that height, and Melissa Gergel then joined them by clearing that height on her third try, setting an indoor PB.
But the three US women could go no higher. Stefanidi, meanwhile, got over 4.60m on her final try before rounding out her series with unsuccessful attempts at 4.66m and a would-be outright Greek record of 4.73m.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF