From Ennis-Hill to Warholm: a look back at past Rising Stars winners

Karsten Warholm
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Karsten Warholm was crowned male Rising Star at the 2017 Golden Tracks award ceremony in Vilnius, Lithuania last year

History shows that winning the Rising Star title at the annual Golden Tracks award ceremony can be a stepping stone to even greater success.

As the contenders for this year’s trophy prepare to see if they will join an illustrious list, names such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, David Storl, Christophe Lemaitre and Sandra Perkovic are proof of where this honour can lead.

Great Britain’s Ennis-Hill lifted the inaugural women's Rising Star trophy in 2007 and five years later she was awarded the female European Athlete of the Year trophy. 

It had been some year for Ennis-Hill in 2007 when she made a breakthrough on the world stage by finishing fourth at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka where she had the best times in the three track events and ran a 100m hurdles personal best of 12.97.

She also won bronze in the 100m hurdles at the European U23 Championships in Debrecen and won individual and team titles at the European Cup Combined Events in Szczecin, Poland. 

A huge few years lied ahead and she rose to the top by winning the Olympic title in London – leading to the female European Athlete of the Year trophy. She also won the European title in 2010 and world titles in 2009, 2011 and 2015. 

Three years after Ennis-Hill triumphed, Croatian discus star Perkovic was being applauded as the Rising Star at the age of 20 after one extraordinary summer. 

With a final round throw of 64.67m at the European Championships in Barcelona, Perkovic moved from the silver medal position to gold in the discus to become the youngest ever European champion in the event.

A few weeks later she broke the national record with 66.93m in Brussels – her progress now has seen her take that mark to 71.41m, the best mark by a discus throw this side of the millennium. 

A fast ascent through the ranks for Lemaitre

By 2009, France’s Lemaitre was already becoming one of the world’s leading sprinters as he demonstrated at the European U20 Championships in Novi Sad.

Running a European U20 record, Lemaitre won the 100m title in 10.04 from Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev - now the world and European 200m champion - and made his debut the following month at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin. 

The big-time beckoned for the Frenchman and the following summer, Lemaitre was one the stars of the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona. He won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m titles and was duly crowned male European Athlete of the Year just months after celebrating his 20th birthday. 

German shot putter Storl, 21, was crowned male Rising Star the following season after sensational outdoor and indoor season. 

Having won gold at the European U23 Championships in Ostrava with 20.45m, Storl reached out to 21.78m to be crowned world champion in Daegu a few weeks later. He also won a silver medal at the European Indoor Championships in Paris. 

Storl was on his way to becoming such a dominant force of the event. He retained his world title in 2013 in Moscow and won the European title on three occasions, building on glory from such a young age. 

Last year’s winners were world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm from Norway and world high jump silver medallist Yuliya Levchenko from Ukraine. Warholm has already 

This weekend in Lausanne, Sarah Healy, Elvira Herman, Maria Vicente, Armand Duplantis, Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Jonathan Sacoor are the nominees for the Rising Star awards and they have some great acts to follow.

Male Rising Stars 
2007 Andrew Howe
2008 Raphael Holzdeppe
2009 Christophe Lemaitre
2010 Teddy Tamgho
2011 David Storl
2012 Pavel Maslak
2013 Emir Bekric
2014 Adam Gemili
2015 Konrad Bukowiecki
2016 Max Hess
2017 Karsten Warholm

Female Rising Stars 
2007 Jessica Ennis
2008 Stephanie Twell
2009 Karoline Grovdal
2010 Sandra Perkovic
2011 Jodie Williams
2012 Angelica Bengtsson
2013 Anita Hinriksdottir
2014 Mariya Kuchina
2015 Noemi Zbaren
2016 Nafissatou Thiam
2017 Yuliya Levchenko