A New Iberia Native is set to compete in Olympic Pole Vaulting in the Tokyo 2020 Games, according to this feature from The Advocate. The event will be held in Tokyo, Japan from July 23 to August 8, 2021; the event was postponed in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At only 22 years old, New Iberia, Louisiana’s Morgann Leleux will be competing in pole vaulting as a member of the United States Women’s Track and Field Olympic Team. Leleux competed in the women’s pole vault finals at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday, June 26th; at the event she finished second to qualify for the Summer Olympic Games.
At the pole vaulting finals, Leleux finished second in pole vaulting with a personal-best clearance of 15 feet and 5 inches; the clearance rate was behind Katie Nageortte’s 16-2.75 rate and ahead of Sandi Morris’s 15-1 clearance.
Despite this, Leleux told reporters that she was much more anxious and nervous for the recently-held qualifying trials than these Eugene Olympic trials, saying “there was a lot more on the line. Everything was on the line to make the finals. Once I made the finals, in my mind I was focused on winning.”
Born in New Iberia, Louisiana, Morgann Leleixux was a multi-state champion at Catholic High School, and an All-American and SEC Champion at the University of Georgia, and a 2016 All-American graduate at the University of Louisiana, where she was also an alternate for the 2016 Olympic Games.
One week after she qualified for the Summer 2020 Games, Morgann Leleux returned to her hometown to participate in a July 2nd parade that honored the famous pole vaulter. Hosted by Mayor Freddie DeCourt, the parade began in front of New Iberia’s City Hall and celebrated throughout the city’s downtown on Friday, July 2nd with citizens cheering their support for Leleux along the city’s East Main Street.
Before the postponement of the 2020 Summer Games due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, she was also expected to make a run for the Tokyo Qualifying match, so now that she has her shot, Leleaux says that she doesn’t want to waste it.
Leleux said, “I’m a way-better vaulter than I was in 2016. Mentally, I’m tougher. I’m more confident in myself. I have the physical ability, I’m injury-free and I’ve also worked a lot on the mental side of it. It could have been any one of five of us today. I knew I had to fight, bar by bar, one at a time. To be honest with you, we’re all going to have to jump higher in the Games, but my attitude is that I’m going there to medal.”
It’s important to note that Morgann Leleux won’t be the only Acadiana-area athlete to compete in the upcoming Olympic Games; she is joined alongside Nicole Ahsinger and Aliaksei Shostak in trampoline gymnastics and Armand “Mondo” Duplantis in pole vaulting as well.
While Leleux is the eighth-ever Ragin’ Cajuns athlete to qualify for the Olympic Summer Games, she is entering the competition alongside the world indoor record holder in pole vaulting: Duplantis. Seen as the favorite at this year’s games, Duplantis is an American-born, Swedish pole vaulter who attended Lafayette High School and will be competing against Leleux in pole vaulting at the Summer Games.
Everyone on Morgan Leleux’s support team from her various coaches, family members, and friends are excited to see her compete with world-class athletes internationally this summer, as they’ve always seen great things for the pole vaulting stand out.
Morgann’s father and youth coach, Shane Leleux, said of his daughter, “her maturity level is off the charts right now. I hate to use a baseball analogy, but I will. When she was on her third try at 4.6 (meters), it was like having three balls and two strikes with two out in the ninth inning, and in my mind, she was the last batter, and all she did was hit it out of the park.”
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