Pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis to forgo LSU eligibility to go pro
Dear LSU: A Letter From Mondo
From the first day I pole vaulted, I knew.
If I was going to go to college, I was going to LSU.
That was never a question.
It was a family thing.
My mom and dad met at LSU. My brothers came to LSU. Before I ever stepped foot on campus, I was a Tiger.
Still, I had a decision to make.
If I was going to college was up in the air. After finishing high school, I had to choose: pole vault professionally, or go to school.
In the end, I chose LSU. Or maybe LSU chose me.
Either way, it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.
As an athlete, I grew. Training in world-class facilities helped me improve drastically.
So did training alongside world-class athletes. My teammates pushed me to new heights this year. Every day, whether it was training, work outs, or meet days, they set the bar high. When I was tired, they pushed me into an extra gear. When I was complacent, they challenged me to do better. When I was discouraged, they infused me with confidence.
Competing as a Tiger changed me forever. There’s this perception that track and field is an individual sport, and in many cases, that’s true.
But every time I jumped this year, I knew I wasn’t just jumping for myself. My teammates were counting on me, and that created a pressure that I never had experienced before.
I loved it. It made me better.
I also loved everything about LSU away from the track. There’s nothing that matches the feeling of being on campus in the fall, or tailgating for football games, or watching your brother break records during baseball season.
It’s all been a dream come true. I always dreamed of wearing purple and gold – and I did, enjoying every single moment. I always dreamed of winning at LSU – and we did, winning an SEC Championship we worked so hard for. I always dreamed of setting records – and I did, getting to compete in front of my family, friends, and the best fans in the country.
Now, it’s time to pursue another dream. In the next 16 months, the best athletes in the world will compete for World Championships and Olympic medals. I plan to be among them. The best step for me next is to pursue a professional sponsorship, which is why I will be foregoing my remaining eligibility to turn pro.
That’s why I’m writing this letter. Not to say goodbye. I’ll continue taking classes at LSU. I’ve been a Tiger my whole life, and I’ll be a Tiger for the rest of it, too.
I’m writing to say thank you.
Thank you to the fans, for your unwavering support.
Thank you to my teammates and coaches, for pushing me and inspiring me.
Thank you to my family, for giving me a path to follow.
Thank you to LSU, for memories I will never forget.
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