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Pole vault star Duplantis welcomes Olympics postponement but says it's a "bummer"

Video credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on March 24, 2020 - Duration: 03:27s

Pole vault star Duplantis welcomes Olympics postponement but says it's a "bummer"

Swedish stars Mondo Duplantis and Sarah Sjostrom agree with decision to postpone the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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Pole vault star Duplantis welcomes Olympics postponement but says it's a "bummer"

RESENDING WITH UPDATED SCRIPT SHOWS: LIEVIN, FRANCE (FILE - FEBRUARY 17, 2020) (FF PRODUCTIONS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

VARIOUS OF SWEDISH POLE VAULT WORLD RECORD HOLDER MONDO DUPLANTIS WALKING INSIDE STADIUM AHEAD OF ATHLETICS MEETING LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA, UNITED STATES (MARCH 24, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 2.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) POLE VAULT WORLD RECORD HOLDER, MONDO DUPLANTIS, SAYING: "It's a bummer, it's a bummer that I won't be able to compete in the Olympics this year, but you have to understand the situation, understand that some things are a little bigger than sport, and I guess we'll have it next year.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, UK (FILE - FEBRUARY 15, 2020) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) 3.

VARIOUS STILL PICTURES SHOWING DUPLANTIS BREAKING HIS POLE VAULT WORLD RECORD (MUTE) LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA, UNITED STATES (MARCH 24, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 4.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) POLE VAULT WORLD RECORD HOLDER, MONDO DUPLANTIS, SAYING: "I pretty much just train in the backyard, we have a little track out here, so I can do like, some sled, and we're fixing up a little bit where maybe I'll be able to jump a little bit, not too high, maybe just over four-sixty or so.

But so, I have the pole in my hands, get a little bit of the feeling.

So, it's not what I expected to be doing at this time of the year, but it's what the situation called for." BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (FILE - JULY 30, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 5.

STILL PICTURE SHOWING SWEDISH SWIMMER SARAH SJOSTROM BEFORE WOMEN'S 50M FREESTYLE SEMI-FINAL AT THE FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (MUTE) 6.

STILL PICTURE SHOWING SJOSTROM CELEBRATING WINNING WOMEN'S 50M FREESTYLE SEMI-FINAL AND BREAKING WORLD RECORD (MUTE) STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (MARCH 24, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 7.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) 50M FREESTYLE WORLD RECORD HOLDER, SWIMMER, SARAH SJOSTROM, SAYING: "I mean, it's the best decision at the moment, I mean they need to think about people's health, that's the first priority.

So, we couldn't expect anything else now, and it's important that they move the Olympics because so many athletes are not, have not been able to prepare.

You know, they haven't been able to do their qualification competition or Olympic trials and so on, and a lot of athletes also don't have access to the training venues, and it's not fair if everyone can't prepare the best way." BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (FILE - JULY 30, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 8.

STILL PICTURE SHOWING SJOSTROM DURING WOMEN'S BUTTERFLY 50M FINAL AT FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (MUTE) 9.

STILL PICTURE SHOWING SJOSTROM REACTING AFTER WINNING RACE (MUTE) 10.

STILL PICTURE SHOWING SJOSTROM CELEBRATING AFTER WINNING RACE (MUTE) STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (MARCH 24, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 11.

SWEDISH OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CEO, PETER REINEBO, WALKING UP TO PODIUM FOR NEWS CONFERENCE 12.

PHOTOGRAPHER 13.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF SWEDISH OLYMPIC COMMITTEE, PETER REINEBO, SAYING: "We have had a lot of discussions with our federations and athletes to support them in this critical situation, this is due to corona, but it's also due to the circumstances of having the games a bit later.

We think it's a wise decision, and we think it's very good it comes this early." 14.

REINEBO BEING INTERVIEWED 15.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SWEDISH OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CEO, PETER REINEBO, SAYING: JOURNALIST: "Is this going to be very costly and how do you intend to cover those costs of these games being moved?" REINEBO: "Well it will be more costly because preparations will be longer.

We have good partners, we rely on our partners, and we will take up the discussion with the government as well." 16.

SWEDISH OLYMPIC COMMITTEE LOGO STORY: Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis described the postponement of the Tokyo Games as a "bummer", having set his sights on gold after breaking the world record twice this year.

The 20-year-old Duplantis, who is currently staying at the home of his American father and Swedish mother in Lafayette, Louisiana, is trying to make the best of the situation after the Games were postponed to 2021.

"It's a bummer, it's a bummer that I won't be able to compete in the Olympics this year, but you have to understand the situation, understand that some things are a little bigger than sport, and I guess we'll have it next year," he told Reuters in a Skype call.

The Covid-19 pandemic has limited Duplantis's ability to train, forcing him to get creative.

"I pretty much just train in the backyard, we have a little track out here ... we're fixing it up a little bit where maybe I'll be able to jump a little bit.

Not too high, maybe just over four-sixty or so, but so I have the pole in my hands, get a little bit of the feeling." Jumps of 4.60 metres are a long way short of the 6.17m and 6.18m that he cleared to break the world record twice in eight days in early February.

Swedish world champion swimmer Sarah Sjostrom meanwhile, agreed postponing the games was the best option.

"It's the best decision at the moment, I mean they need to think about people's health, that's the first priority so we couldn't expect anything else now," she said.

The Swedish Olympic Committee said it was a "wise" decision with CEO Peter Reinebo saying it was good it came early.

(Production: Philip O'Connor, Ilze Filks)

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