Nilsen breaks American indoor record

TOURCOING, France ( —South Dakota track and field alumnus Chris Nilsen vaulted a personal best 19-9 (6.02m) at the Perche en Or pole vault competition on Saturday to break* the American indoor record. It marked Nilsen’s first time surpassing the elusive six-meter mark in his career.

Nilsen, the 2020 Olympic silver medalist, did not have a miss in the competition and went over five heights on first attempts before the record clearance on a first-attempt make. His previous indoor best was 19-5 ½ (5.93m), cleared in his final collegiate season to set a then-NCAA indoor record. It remains the South Dakota program record.

Nilsen sits second in the world this season behind Olympic gold medalist Mondo Duplantis, who vaulted 19-9 ¼ (6.03m) on Friday.

A 2020 graduate of the University of South Dakota, Nilsen was a three-time NCAA Champion, the 2020 USTFCCCA National Field Athlete of the Year and graduated with a collegiate best of 19-6 ¼ (5.95m) at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships, an NCAA meet record.

The previous American indoor record was held by Sam Kendricks, a height of 19-8 ½ (6.01m) set in 2020 in Rouen, France.

* Nilsen’s American indoor record is pending ratification by the U.S. Track and Field Records Committee.