By Adam Brown
Former Ole Miss Rebel and Olympian Sam Kendricks defended his world title in the men’s pole vault IAFF World Championship gold medal on Tuesday.
The Oxford native is just the second in world history to repeat as the world outdoor men’s champion in the pole vault, joining world outdoor record holder Sergey Bubka, who won the first six titles from 1983-97 first for the Soviet Union and then Ukraine.
Kendricks entered in the midst of the greatest season of his already prolific professional career, but it took all he had not only to win but to remain in the competition against two other global titans in Duplantis and Poland’s Piotr Lisek. In total, Kendricks had faced Duplantis (3-3) and Lisek (11-5) a total of 22 times in 2019, going a combined 14-8 against them.
“When you respect your competition, you can’t ever take for granted that it might not happen,” Kendricks told NBC Sports’ Lewis Johnson afterward. “It’s certainly a gift every time, and my goodness, it’s a memorable night.”
Early this season, he broke an American record at the height of 6.06 meters at the USA Track and Field Championships.