Mondo Duplantis documentary “Born to Fly” hits Swedish theaters
We easily forget that Armand “Mondo” Duplantis is still only 22 years old. The Swedish pole vaulter, who grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana, not only holds the world record of 6.21 meters (20 feet, 4.5 inches), but has seven of the top 10 jumps in the history of the world, including the top five, and is the reigning Olympic and World Champion.
Lafayette native Brennan Robideaux has been there through it all, chronicling the highs and lows of the pole vault prodigy for a documentary since 2017, when Duplantis was a senior in high school. This month, the long gestation The movie ‘Born to Fly’ finally debuts in Sweden.
Duplantis is truly a prodigy – he still holds the age group world records for 7-12 year olds, as well as 17, 18 and 19 year olds. That’s what happens when your parents build a pole vault pit in your backyard instead of a playground. Her father, Greg, is a former professional pole vaulter and her mother, Helena, was a multi-event athlete at LSU. The film is as much about Duplantis’ relationship with his parents as it is about his young career, according to Robideaux.
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It is not yet known when the film will be released in the United States. For now, here’s what’s happening on the movie website:
“As filming went on, layers of that story started to emerge. It became more than just documentation of a young prodigy’s success on the track. The story included a coming-of-age saga between a boy and his father.
Greg Duplantis was one of America’s top pole vaulters in his prime. He broke several world records in high school and was on his way to becoming an Olympian. But his story ended sooner than he hoped, never qualifying for the United States Olympic team due to poor performance at the United States Olympic Trials – presumably the competition the most intense in the world where one day can shape your whole future. His dream of becoming an American Olympian ended after four failed Olympic trials. An unceremonious finale to twelve consecutive years of dedication, training and a lifetime of preparation.
There was also the story of Mondo’s mother, Helena, who was a talented Swedish heptathlete who came to the United States on an athletic scholarship where she met Greg. She, like her husband, was obsessed with sports – and it completely carried over to their children. Sport wasn’t just something they participated in like average kids…sport consumed them.
So when the local college put their old pole vault pit up for sale, the temptation was too great, and the Duplantis family purchased the entire facility, reassembling the massive structure in their modest backyard. It became their playground. And so, the legend of the Duplantis family was born in our city.
Currently, the film can only be seen in Swedish theaters, but Robideaux and Duplantis have teased on social media that a US release (whether in theaters or on streaming) could be coming soon.
The film is also a bildungsroman for filmmaker Robideaux, who was just 21 and living at home on “permanent exclusion” from college when he came across the Duplantis story in the local newspaper. He walked down the street from his parents’ house to film high school practices when he started the project in 2017. In the last year of production, the film was picked up by Red Bull Studios and he had all the a team and a budget. around him.
“Making Born to Fly was an experience my younger self could only dream of,” Robideax wrote on the film’s website. “Now, very soon, it will be an experience that we can share together.”
Johanna Gretschel is a freelance writer and broadcaster living in Austin, TX who has covered elite athletics and running in all its forms. She contributes to Runner’s World, ESPN, Austin American-Statesman, FloTrack, MileSplit, Women’s Running and Podium Runner. Yes, she ran a marathon!
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