Pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie made the Silberpfeil Cityjump in Salzburg, Austria, on Friday evening a truly special occasion. He cleared 5.93 metres to win this spectacular street event. Through his presence he contributed strongly to the charity for Austrian pole vaulter Kira Grünberg who was left quadriplegic after a training accident five weeks ago. Lavillenie rose to a superb level following his somewhat disappointing bronze medal at the World Championships in Beijing. Germans Michel Frauen and Oleg Zernikel were second and third in Salzburg, jumping 5.50 and 5.30 respectively. Rasmus Jorgensen of Denmark, winner of the event in 2013, came forth with 5.20. About 5,000 visitors enjoyed the atmosphere at “Kapitelplatz” in the very centre of the city, located between the Salzburg cathedral and the fortress “Hohensalzburg”.
Athletes gave it all – for charity
Lavillenie produced an Austrian all-comers record by one centimetre and even tried 6.00 metres three times, but right after the competition he said: “There are more important things than this.” He was referring to the fate of Kira Grünberg. The 22-year old broke her neck in training and is paralysed from the fifth cervical down. She will not be able to move her feet and arms again, so the doctors told her. When Lavillenie heard about her condition, he offered his support and agreed to participate at the event without demanding any money. So did the other athletes. Organisers were able to hand over 18,000 Euros for Kira Grünberg and her family, coming from the athletes’ budget and donations by the visitors. “I am very proud to have dedicated this competition to Kira. I hope this will give her strength to fight and continue to grow as she does”, Lavillenie said. “It is amazing, that a world class athlete really gives it all, even if no money is involved. This shows his great commitment and personality”, said meeting director Karin Walkner.
Lavillenie struggled, but won in style
The Olympic champion struggled at the beginning of the event. He needed two jumps over 5.40 and cleared 5.50 in an unspectacular manner. The next two heights brought him into the right mood with commanding jumps over 5.60 and 5.70. He cleared 5.80 only at the third attempt, then chose to lift the bar up to 5.93, which is just above the Austrian all-comers record of István Bagyula. The Hungarian has jumped 5.92 at the Gugl Meeting in Linz in 1991. It all came together at Lavillenie’s ninth jump of the competition, when he took the height at the first try. Three jumps over 6.00 were unsuccessful. “It was a complicated competition because I was feeling tired and I decided to jump on 16 steps rather than on 20 steps as normally, but jump after jump, I managed to improve myself and the final was excellent. The atmosphere was incredible”, he commented.
“Incredible to see, how she improves”
Renaud Lavillenie visited Kira Grünberg on Thursday, the day before the competition, at the rehabilitation facility in Bad Häring and was taken away by her strong will and her state of mind. “Kira is a fascinating and strong woman. She is very focused and forward-looking”, he said. She was a finalist at the European Championships in Zurich 2014, fourth at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona 2012 and fourth at the European U23 Championships in Tallinn two months ago. They talked about her accident, her treatment and the World Championships in Beijing. “It’s incredible to see how she improves after five weeks.” While the original prognosis did not leave much room for improvement, she has started to raise her arms by a few centimetres recently.
Athletics at a fabulous city environment
Silberpfeil Cityjump in Salzburg took place for the second time after 2013. The event brings athletics to a fabulous city environment at the old town of Salzburg, which is part of the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage sites. The mobile track (“The FlySwat”), that is suitable for pole vault, long jump, triple jump and sprint, is fully in accordance with IAAF rules. Results are eligible for world rankings and records of all kind. As a contribution to the charity for Kira Grünberg it is one of many activities (charity runs etc.) that took place in Austria in support of the former pole vaulter.
For more information about the Silberpfeil Cityjump please contact:
Mobile phone +43 664 157 65 58