France’s Renaud Lavillenie did something that has been impossible for European athletes before, grabbing three major international titles in the same year, as the European Athletics Championships were held for the first time in the same summer as the Olympic Games.Lavillenie, 26, had an astonishing season, both indoors and outdoors.
Indoors, the Frenchman won four out of five competitions including at the World Indoor Championships, when he took his first global victory with a classy 5.95m result.The same form continued outdoors as he won eight out of 10 contests before the Olympic Games, included a thrilling battle at European Athletics Championships where German Bjorn Otto fought doggedly with Lavillenie.However, first time clearances at 5.87m, 5.92m and finally 5.97m brought the Frenchman his second straight European outdoor title.
Like in Helsinki, at the Olympic Games it was 35-year-old Otto, also accompanied by compatriot Raphael Holzdeppe, who were the French vaulter’s main rivals.However, unlike in Helsinki, in London it was Lavillenie who trailed the Germans for much of the later part of the competition.Otto grabbed the lead in the with a first time clearance at 5.91m and was quickly followed by Holzdeppe, who was third in Helsinki.Lavillenie failed his first attempt at that height but opted to take his remaining two tries to 5.97m and he cleared with his last try for the victory. Coincidently, in London, the medallists were in exactly the same order that they had been in Helsinki.
Otto went on to clear 6.01m for the 2012 world leading mark on home soil in Aachen in September to become the 16th man to clear six metres or more outdoors.United States is the best country in this event with 24 athletes in the world top 100. Germany is second with 11 and Russia third with 10.
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