Sweden Diamond League Track and Field

Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis competes in the pole vault during the Diamond League Track and Field Championships in Stockholm, Sweden on Sunday, July 4, 2021. 

LAFAYETTE — Armand "Mondo" Duplantis was born and raised in Lafayette.

So, why will he be wearing the yellow and blue colors of Sweden when he competes in the pole vault at the Tokyo Olympics?

After all, his father Greg is from New Orleans, won a pair of state pole vault titles in the event and starred at LSU.

Older brothers Andreas and Antoine competed for LSU — Andreas in the pole vault and Antoine as one of the best hitters in the baseball program's history. Younger sister Johanna is headed for LSU to pole vault this fall.

But their mother Helena is Swedish. She met Greg at LSU while she was competing in both volleyball and track.

The active young family found room for both cultures in their home.

Many summers were spent in Sweden and Europe, and the children can speak Swedish.

Just like in millions of homes around the world, the offspring learn from and adapt the ways of both parents — maybe with a little longer visit at Christmas.

So Mondo, the top-ranked pole vaulter in the world, has had to deal with anger from some Americans who think he should be wearing red, white and blue.

“I had to endure a lot of hate and hear things I had not expected from people,” Duplantis told reporters on theDiamond League circuit. “Many were unhappy because I was competing for Sweden. I guess they were Americans, but I didn't want to read anything. I didn't want to read hate comments.

“I expect a backlash for the Olympics, but I have a hard time understanding it.”

“They're not track people,” Greg said of the critics. “They get 50,000 fans to a track meet in Europe. It's a big deal.”

Swedish coach Jones Anselm finds the complaints “extremely ridiculous."

LSU sports news in your inbox

If you're a Tiger fan you won't want to miss this newsletter. Sign up today.

“With Swedish training methods, there is a playfulness involved,” he added. “There is caring, and a transparency, with good leaders.”

Greg Duplantis was invited to be one of those leaders in 2015 as Mondo was soaring past career benchmarks, and they remain a tight-knit family.

“I think we have a really cool dynamic because my parents are still my coaches,” Mondo said. “Ever since I was a boy. It's a really cool thing to be able to experience this journey with them.”

Duplantis is a bona fide star in Europe at age 21.

While track and field is popular in Europe, in many parts of the United States, the sport is only noticed every four years because of Olympic fervor.

Mondo Duplantis understands the friction but would like a peaceful resolution.

“Lafayette made me the person that I am, and you know, I hope to get support from people there,” he said. “I'm going to try to make everyone in Lafayette proud and bring home a gold medal.”

Among others, Mondo Duplantis will be challenged by friendly rival Renaud Lavillene of France and the American trio of Chris Nilse, Sam Kendricks and KC Lightfoot.

Duplantis is an American, too, but with a twist.

What's the word on dual citizenship?

Dual citizenship refers to the status of an individual who holds the nationality of two countries at the same time. Dual citizenship can offer many benefits if you travel frequently between countries, for example, to visit relatives, because you won't need to apply for a visa to enter the country.

Before 1967, dual citizenship was not permitted in the United States. Now, U.S. citizens may be able to hold dual nationality with another country. U.S. residents granted citizenship in a foreign state are under no legal obligation under U.S. law to renounce their U.S. citizenship.