News15 May 2024

First 6.00m pole vault celebrated in sculpture - Cultural Olympiad, Paris 2024


Pierre Larauza's '13 juillet 1985, Paris' (© Malik Benkahla)

The first of three monumental track and field sculptures being temporarily installed in Paris and Strasbourg has gone on public display as part of the celebrations of the Cultural Olympiad of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

World Athletics Heritage and the Museum of World Athletics (MOWA) are delighted to renew their cooperation with the sculptor Pierre Larauza, a Brussels based French multidisciplinary artist, by sponsoring the installation of the three artworks.

Pierre Larauza's '13 juillet 1985, Paris'

Pierre Larauza's '13 juillet 1985, Paris'

Engaging art

MOWA’s relationship with Larauza began in September 2021 with the inauguration of “30 aout 1991, Tokyo” – a sculpture depicting the world long jump record set by Mike Powell in 1991. The artwork is permanently displayed adjacent to Brussels’ King Baudouin Stadium, engaging with the local community.

The artist invites and encourages all visitors, young and old, to jump and measure their abilities with the world record on the 40-metre long jump runway and landing pit, which sits alongside the artwork.

The giant artwork, in concrete and steel, represents the take-off and, at the exact heights and positions of his shoes, the length of Powell’s historic travel through the Tokyo night sky, and his touchdown in the landing pit at 8.95m.

As part of this year’s Cultural Olympiad – Paris 2024, which explores the links between art and sport, a temporary reproduction of Larauza’s long jump artwork was opened yesterday in Zenith Paris La Villette.

Some 1500 children from across Paris took part in this one-day Olympic cultural festival at Zenith, a multi-purpose indoor arena which is one of the largest in the French capital.

Ça match au Zénith

Ça match au Zénith (© Léo Joudi)

Physical or mental barriers

One of the other two track and field sculptures by Larauza being displayed in the coming weeks is the “20 octobre 1968, Mexico” (high jump gold, 1968 Olympic, 2.24m) – a tribute to the late Dick Fosbury.

The artwork measures 1.8m x 1.6m x 2.5m and is created in wood, concrete and plaster. It was first exhibited in the Centre Tour a Plomb, Brussels, in 2020, and demonstrates the height crossed by the athlete, against which our body can be measured.

The work is presented as an allegory of the obstacle: this physical or mental wall that we may have been confronted with in our lives, are currently confronted with or will be confronted with one day. What strategy should we choose to break free of it? Fosbury surpassed his wall with the invention of the Fosbury Flop technique.

The trajectory of the pole

The third artwork is the “13 juillet 1985, Paris” (pole vault world record, 6.00m, Sergey Bubka) – which represents the world’s first ever six metres vault, which took place in the Jean Bouin Stadium, Paris, in 1985.

This giant 20m x 4m x 6m installation will be publicly exhibited for the first time in June. Larauza will reproduce Bubka’s vault, immortalising a life-size historical movement in sculpture.

Pierre Larauza's '13 juillet 1985, Paris'

Pierre Larauza's '13 juillet 1985, Paris'

This work of art, which is constructed from concrete, steel, stainless steel and foam materials, takes a poetic and documentary look at this exceptional movement by faithfully reproducing the trajectory of the pole.

The exhibition of “13 juillet 1985, Paris” will take place at Carreau du Temple in the centre of Paris, from 26 to 30 June 2024.

The Carreau du Temple, which was built in 1863 as a covered market, has since its reconstruction in 2011 become a prestigious cultural and sporting facility.

Chris Turner for World Athletics Heritage


Exhibition at the Zenith, Paris
211 Av. Jean Jaures, 75019 Paris.
14 May 2024

Sculpture – “30 aout 1991, Tokyo” (long jump world record, 8.95m).

Exhibition at Carreau du Temple, Paris
4 Rue Eugene Spuller, 75003 Paris
26 to 30 June 2024

“13 juillet 1985, Paris” (pole vault world record, 6.00m) and “30 aout 1991, Tokyo”. 

Exhibition at Le Vaisseau, Strasbourg
1 Bis Rue Philippe Dollinger, 67100 Strasbourg
21 May to 14 October 2024

Sculptures – “20 octobre 1968, Mexico” (2.24m high jump Olympic 1968 - tribute to the late Dick Fosbury) and “30 aout 1991, Tokyo”.

Pages related to this article