Armand Duplantis’ exceptional season in the pole vault was recognised at the World Athletics Awards 2020 which was held virtually on Saturday (5) afternoon.
The Swede was crowned male World Athlete of the Year at the age of 21, becoming the youngest ever winner of this accolade in award history which was inaugurated in 1988.
Duplantis was part of one of the strongest short-lists in award history. He was one of five finalists alongside Norway’s Karsten Warholm, Germany’s Johannes Vetter, Ryan Crouser from the United States and fellow world record-breaker Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda.
Duplantis twice broke the world record during the indoor season with clearances of 6.17m in Torun and 6.18m in Glasgow and despite an interrupted season caused by the pandemic, Duplantis also cleared 6.15m in Rome to surpass Sergey Bubka’s world outdoor best.
The reigning European champion went unbeaten in 16 competitions indoors and outdoors in 2020 and he also cleared 6.00m or higher on 10 occasions.
“It was a really strange season, for me and everybody, but I was able to put it together and get some pretty good results," said Duplantis, who received the Rising Star Award in 2018.
“I just wanted to go out there and show the world what I was capable of and put my name out there with some big performances. I was able to do that and had some good heights, especially during the indoor season.
“When everything got shut down and things were pushed back to the end of the season, I was able to find some good form there as well which, for me, was more impressive than my indoor season because I'd had two months off.”
Duplantis’ parents were also deservedly recognised for the role they have played in shaping the Swede’s prestigious career. Helena and Greg Duplantis were the joint recipients of the Coaching Achievement Award.
Helena, a former heptathlete, mainly helps with her son’s conditioning while Greg, a 5.80m pole vaulter in his prime, assists with technique.
The Polish Athletics Association also received the Member Federations Award for successfully delivering much of the country's competitive calendar in spite of the pandemic, including the staging of three World Athletics Continental Tour competitions as well as being instrumental in the staging of the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia.