Pole vault star Renaud Lavillenie says his hunger for gold remains as strong as ever

Renaud Lavillenie has seen it all and won it all. But the Frenchman insists his appetite for success is as strong as ever.

The unassuming Frenchman’s gold run is as impressive as they come in track and field.

It began back in March last year with World Indoor gold in Istanbul, was followed by European gold in Helsinki, peaked with Olympic success in London and continued with European indoor victory in Gothenburg three months ago.

What next, you may wonder, for a man who now has seven major pole vault titles to his name.

The answer is world outdoor gold: the one crown that has so far eluded Lavillenie, at 26 with plenty of time to add to his stunning haul.

‘Finding motivation is not so hard,’ he tells me in Rome on the eve of  Thursday’s Diamond League meeting in Rome. ‘To hear the national anthem when you have won gold – you want it again and again.

‘I enjoy every minute of what I do and when you have won gold medals, you don’t want to see them go to anyone else.

‘Every time is special. But I know everyone is pushing me this summer and I can’t make mistakes or they will beat me.’

Lavillenie explains that winning his first Olympic medal in London made it an extra special achievement last year as a Frenchman.

He will look to defend his crown in Rio de Janeiro in three years’ time and added: ‘It was a chance for us as French athletes that London is not so far from France.

‘Everyone from back home was watching this Olympics and it was a very important Games for France and for me because it was my first.

‘An opportunity like that can be exceptional and it was one I couldn’t miss. I knew that by the time Rio comes around everything will be changed.

‘I’m very excited now for the London Anniversary Games next month. It is a great time to go back and relive those memories.’

Lavillenie is a huge name in his native France but says the success of the apst 12 months has not changed him as a person.

He was at the French Open final to watch Rafael Nadal beat David Ferrer to the title yesterday after being beaten into second place at the Golden Gala on Thursday evening, vaulting 5.86metres, behind winner Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany (5.91m).

Lavillenie said: ‘I’m still the same. I can’t say yes to everything, or I don’t find enough hours to train, and I have to keep the same level if I want to win the world title this year.

‘I had been in the spotlight before but not so much so I guess that was new to me.’

Renaud Lavillenie  Vaulter Magazine
Renaud Lavillenie Vaulter Magazine


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