The tactical battle went to Sam Kendricks at the seventh IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season in Paris as he defeated pole vault rival Renaud Lavillenie on his home ground.
The question was: when had the battle started?
The 30-year-old French world record-holder was visibly upset by his inability to earn another victory in a meeting that has been his domain for so long, failing to clear 5.77m after delaying his entry to the competition until 5.62m.
He was comforted by his brother, Valentin, as he sat dejectedly by the runway in the Charlety Stadium with his head covered. He was even comforted by Kendricks.