Raphael Holzdeppe in the mens Pole Vault Final at the World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 (© Getty Images)
Renaud Lavillenie will have to wait two more years to take another stab at winning the World Championships gold medal that has so far eluded him – and continues to do so – in his glittering career.
The Olympic champion from France was beaten by Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe, who was in incredible form and was the only athlete not to record any failures up to and including the winning height of 5.89m.
Lavillenie, meanwhile, cleared the same height but needed three attempts to do so, having also recorded a couple of failures earlier in the series.
Holzdeppe’s team-mate Bjorn Otto took the bronze, meaning the podium featured the same three medallists from last year’s Olympic Games and European Champions. Unfortunately for Lavillenie, it was a different order.
Lavillenie’s younger brother Valentin was the first to exit the competition, failing at his opening height of 5.50m. China’s Xue Changrui was the only casualty of the next height, 5.65m, missing it three times.
With the bar at 5.75m, there were 10 men left in the competition, four of which went out at that height. The most notable of those was Greek record-holder Konstadinos Filippidis, winner at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting earlier in the season.
Brazil’s Augusto de Oliveira, Russia’s Sergey Kucheryanu and Sweden’s Alhaji Jeng joined Filippidis on the bench after similarly missing three times at 5.75m.
USA’s Brad Walker, the 2007 World champion, sailed over 5.82m at the first time of asking, as did Holzdeppe and Otto. Lavillenie needed two attempts, while Malte Mohr stayed in the competition with a third-time clearance.
Holzdeppe then sailed over 5.89m to maintain his lead. Lavillenie was the only other athlete to get over the bar, but a third-time clearance meant he still trailed his German rival. He would need to clear the next height, 5.96m, in fewer attempts than Holzdeppe to snatch the gold.
But it was not to be and both athletes notched up three failures at the final height of the competition, giving Holzdeppe the gold medal.
Though distraught, Lavillenie was gracious in defeat and made his way over to the stands where Holzdeppe was celebrating to congratulate him on his victory; Lavillenie’s mind already thinking about his next shot in Beijing in two years’ time.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF