Mayer and Asher-Smith crowned European Athletes of the Year in Lausanne

Dina Asher-Smith
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Great Britain's Dina Asher-Smith poses with her women's European Athlete of the Year trophy

World decathlon record-holder Kevin Mayer and European 100m, 200m and 4x100m champion Dina Asher-Smith received the men’s and women’s European Athlete of the Year trophies at the annual Golden Tracks award ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday (26) evening.

Mayer is the third French athlete to be crowned male European Athlete of the Year after Christophe Lemaitre in 2010 and Renaud Lavillenie in 2014 and the first decathlete to win the accolade since Czech Republic’s Tomas Dvorak in 1999. Mayer was one of four finalists in the reckoning alongside Turkey’s world and European 200m champion Ramil Guliyev, Norway’s European 1500m and 5000m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Sweden’s European pole vault champion Armand Duplantis.

Mayer began his season by winning the world indoor heptathlon title in Birmingham with a world-leading score of 6348. The Frenchman’s assault on the European decathlon title came to a premature end with three fouls in the long jump but Mayer ended his season spectacularly by smashing Ashton Eaton’s world decathlon record by 81 points with 9126 in Talence, the most number of points added to the world decathlon record since 1999.

On the women’s side, Asher-Smith became the fourth British athlete to be crowned women’s European Athlete of the Year after Sally Gunnell won the inaugural award in 1993, followed by fellow Olympic champions Kelly Holmes in 2004 and Jessica Ennis-Hill in 2012. Asher-Smith received the prestigious trophy ahead of last year’s European Athlete of the Year Ekaterini Stefanidi from Greece and reigning European, world and Olympic heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam from Belgium.

Asher-Smith dominated the sprinting programme at the European Championships in Berlin. Not only did she become just the third female sprinter in European Championships history to win a sprint treble - and the first since Katrin Krabbe in Split in 1990 - Asher-Smith equalled the world lead in the 100m with 10.85 and set an outright world lead of 21.89 in the 200m. Asher-Smith also anchored the British 4x100m team to victory on the last night of the programme in another world-leading time of 41.88. Her winning times in the 100m and 200m were also British records. 

Duplantis, Ingebrigtsen and Herman receive Rising Star awards

Two of the three finalists for the men’s Rising Star award won European senior titles in Berlin and were also finalists for the men’s European Athlete of the Year trophy. For their unprecedented exploits at the European Championships, Duplantis and Ingebrigtsen jointly received the men's Rising Star accolade. 

Duplantis, 18, cleared three world U20 records and a championship record of 6.05m to defeat one of the most competitive fields ever assembled for a major championships pole vault final while Ingebrigtsen won an unprecedented 1500/5000m double on back-to-back evenings at the age of 17.

On the women’s side, Elvira Herman became the first Belarusian athlete to win an award at the Golden Tracks award ceremony. The 21-year-old received the women’s Rising Star accolade after winning the European 100m hurdles title in Berlin just two seasons after she was crowned world U20 champion in Bydgoszcz.

Recently retired Greg Rutherford, who won five major outdoor titles in the long jump between 2012 and 2016, won the Lifetime Achievement Award while Ukraine’s two-time European 800m champion Nataliya Pryshchepa received the Fair Play Award.

Pryshchepa gained many plaudits for her spontaneous act of sportsmanship in the 800m heats when she ran to the assistance of Belgium’s Renee Eykens who fell in the home straight.

Outstanding coaches were recognised again at the Golden Tracks award ceremony. The annual European Athletics Coaching Awards came into being in 2010 and forms a key part of European Athletics’ strategy to promote coaching at all levels.

The coach of each European senior champion is automatically nominated and all Member Federations are also invited to nominate one additional male and female coach based on the criteria “excellence in coaching.”

The first recipients of the European Athletics Coaching Awards are Sweden’s Carina Lindberg and Switzerland’s Jacques Binder while the remainder of the recipients will receive their awards at national ceremonies. In total, 58 coaches representing 32 Member Federations will receive a European Athletics Coaching Award.

The overall winner of the biennial Innovation Awards were also acknowledged at the Golden Tracks award ceremony. The winning entry this year was submitted by Antonio Sanchez Pato and Emanuele Isidori and was entitled: “An Innovative European Sports Tutorship Model Of The Dual Career Of Students.”

Men’s European Athlete of the Year

Kevin Mayer (FRA)

Women’s European Athlete of the Year

Dina Asher-Smith (GBR)

Men’s Rising Star

Armand Duplantis (SWE) and Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR)

Women’s Rising Star

Elvira Herman (BLR)

Lifetime Achievement Award

Greg Rutherford (GBR)

Fair Play Award

Nataliya Pryshchepa (UKR)