Renaud Lavillenie at the pre-event press conference for the 2013 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome (© Giancarlo Colombo)
“Hi everybody! I am glad to give you some of my news, as the outdoor season has already started.
“My performances are already there but at the beginning of May, I injured myself for the first time in my career though, thankfully, it was just a slight problem with my abdominal muscles; but, it must be said, that I made my body suffer during training.
“Thankfully, it was just a muscle strain but it shows that I am a human being just like everybody else.
“Although I had jumped outside at the Drake Relays in April, I started my outdoor season properly at Forbach, in the east of France. The weather was catastrophic. I jumped with three or four layers of clothing. I did not even jump to warm up. I just wanted to have a hot shower and I took a smaller run-up than usual, and I did not ask myself serious questions about my performance.
Of course, it was not the perfect way to prepare before the first major meetings..
“Then, I went to the United States for the third time of the year, after Reno and Des Moines, to participate in the IAAF Diamond League Meeting in Eugene
"I really enjoy the US state of mind and atmosphere at their events, I really appreciate them"
"There were 15,000 spectators in Eugene, all experts; they chose their seat depending on what they wanted to watch. I love the American way of life. There is just one road with one lane! Everything is large. In fact, it is like movies. What is more, I have many supporters over there. I got another warm welcome.
“The competition itself was quite hard since the best pole vaulters of the world were there, and most of them had already participated in several competitions while I lacked physical freshness.
“I had my back to the wall at 5.71m and 5,90m, because I used a pole which was too flexible; but I did not want to clear just 5.50m after having done 8000 kilometres to get there. Finally, I managed to clear 5.95m, which is a top performance at this early stage of the season. It was a competition worthy of an important final and a battle between all the best pole vaulters.
“On Thursday, in Roma, I had to content myself with the second place behind Raphael Holzedeppe, after having cleared 5,86m. No easing off was allowed, with the presence of three German people facing just one French person. Unfortunately, I lacked a bit of freshness that night as well.
“But we could not dream of a better situation for the Pole Vault, thanks to this competition. As I am consistant at the good heights, I know draw attention to our sport. Besides, we are lucky since Pole Vault is spectacular. Frankly, we pole vaulters are quite lucky regarding our high profile.
“Before I leave you, I would like to talk a bit about my brother, Valentin. He just won the meeting of Montreuil, which close to Paris, a few days ago, where he cleared 5.65m. I am convinced that he will clear 5.75m pretty soon and we are dreaming of competing for the national team together in Moscow. It would be a unique experience!
“See you soon, Renaud.”