The best of the best will be present next Wednesday, 2 September in the city of Lausanne. The "City Event", an edition of Athletissima reserved exclusively for pole vault and organised in the city centre. The Swedish prodigy, Armand Duplantis, the best athlete in the world across all disciplines according to the World Athletics points system and undefeated this season, will aim for a twelfth consecutive success in 2020. Competing against him the double world champion, Sam Kendricks (United States) and the Pole, Piotr Lisek.
If the weather permits, the 6-meter barrier could well be passed once again. On Sunday in Stockholm, despite the wind, Duplantis jumped the best world performance of the year outdoors with 6m01. His own world record, set in February indoors in Glasgow, remains at 6.18m.
The American, Sam Kendricks, now has five consecutive defeats against the Swedish prodigy, but his form appears to be on the rise, as evidence from his jumped of 5m82 on Tuesday in Poland.
Piotr Lisek, who is part of the "over six-meter" club, spared himself for the event. He excelled last year in Lausanne with a meeting record at 6m01. Will he repeat the feat in the open air and in in the particular setting of the city centre?
The public will be limited to one thousand people due to restrictions related to Covid-19. The French, Renaud Lavillenie, a favourite with the Lausanne crowd, will undoubtedly get a rousing reception. Even if he has been jumping alone in his garden in training, the former world record holder, who returns from injury (broken left thumb), will need a lift from the public to try and challenge the three favourites.
The same goes for his nemesis from the Rio 2016 Olympics, the Olympic champion, Thiago Braz. The Brazilian has plateaued for some time (5m50 is his best in 2020), but has not given up, neither has the Pole, Pawel Wojciechowski, who will also be present.
Even if only two competitions (women’s and men’s pole vault) are on the program for 2020, the organisers are busy. The health obligations due to the coronavirus imposes a myriad of precautions - separate flows of people, disinfection of hands and equipment, screening tests for staff and athletes, plexiglass, and limited entries to name just a few.
But spectators have nothing to fear and are expected in high spirits from 5pm on-site, one hour before the start of the competitions, to collect their free entry ticket.