In focus: a closer look at the European Athlete of the Year finalists

Golden Tracks banner
European Athletics

Two long-lists of 10 athletes have been whittled down to three contenders for the male and female European Athlete of the Year awards. The winners will be crowned on Friday (26) at the Golden Tracks award ceremony in Lausanne.  

Ahead of the Golden Tracks award ceremony, we take a closer look at the seven finalists and remember the performances which have put them in contention for the prestigious accolade. Last year’s winners were Germany's world javelin champion Johannes Vetter and Greece's world pole vault champion Ekaterini Stefanidi. 

The Golden Tracks award ceremony will be streamed live on the European Athletics website.  

Armand Duplantis (SWE)

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Armand Duplantis produced one of the most accomplished displays in the history of pole vaulting at the European Championships in Berlin. Only 18, Duplantis cleared seven of his eight heights on his first attempts, including world U20 record clearances at 5.95m, 6.00m and 6.05m to move to equal second on the world all-time lists. 

Ramil Guliyev (TUR)

One year after winning the world 200m title in London, Ramil Guliyev was at the height of his powers at the European Championships in Berlin. With a powerful run from lane seven, Guliyev blasted off the bend in the lead and extended his margin in the home straight for victory in a championship record of 19.76.

Guliyev has for many years harboured aspirations of breaking Pietro Mennea’s European record of 19.72 and that mark is within Guliyev’s compass as he gets ready to defend his world title in Doha.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR)

Jakob Ingebrigtsen was equally illustrious both before and during Berlin at the European Championships. At 17, Ingebrigtsen reached unchartered territory by becoming the first athlete - male or female - to win the European 1500m and 5000m titles in the same championships on back-to-back nights. His winning time in the 5000m of 13:17.06 was also a European U20 record and he is still eligible for U20 competitions in 2019.

Kevin Mayer (FRA)

The disappointment of missing out on the European decathlon title in Berlin where his mastery of the major championships came to an abrupt end with three fouls in the long jump was replaced by delight just over a month later in Talence. 

In perfect conditions and with a capacity crowd spurring on his every move, the Frenchman took Ashton Eaton’s world decathlon record from 9045 points up to 9126 points - the most points added to the world record since Tomas Dvorak smashed Dan O’Brien’s world record by more than 100 points in 1999.

Dina Asher-Smith (GBR)

Dina Asher-Smith was the only athlete to win three medals at the European Championships in Berlin and all of them were of the same colour: gold. Asher-Smith won the 100m in a British record and equal world lead of 10.85, the 200m in a British record and outright world lead of 21.89 before running a storming anchor leg for Great Britain to win the 4x100m in another world lead of 41.88.

Only Petra Vogt and Katrin Krabbe - both East Germans - had won treble sprint gold in championship history before Asher-Smith's exploits.

 

Ekaterini Stefanidi (GRE)

Ekaterini Stefanidi has already won every major outdoor title once and she is already one-third of the way around her second lap after defending her European title in Berlin.

Stefanidi struggled with an Achilles injury during the indoor season and in the early months of the outdoor campaign but the US-based Greek vaulter vaulted exceptionally well in the second half of the summer season, improving her championship record to 4.85m for gold in the German capital.

Nafissatou Thiam (BEL)

Just days before her 24th birthday, Nafissatou Thiam joined illustrious company as she became only the third heptathlete after Carolina Klüft and Jessica Ennis-Hill to win gold medals at the Olympic Games, World Championships and European Championships.

Thiam’s was under pressure from Katarina Johnson-Thompson for six-and-a-half events out of seven until Thiam summoned up a championship best of 59.27m in the javelin en route to a world-leading total of 6816 points. Thiam also won in Gotzis at the start of the summer when she cleared a world best of 2.01m in the high jump.