Below are the 12 men and women our panel of experts have judged should be the nominees for the inaugural Golden Tracks to be awarded to the male and female European Athletes of the Year.
The most important criteria was honours won and, in Europe, this means that precedence was given to getting a gold medal at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich last month.
This event was the foremost athletics event in the world this year and, despite some consideration given to other events, it was decided that preference should be given to the men and women who had stood on top of the podium in Zurich.
The judges were aware that not everyone will agree with their decision.
Some people might argue that athletes with superlative performances to their name, such as 2014 world leaders Piotr Malachowski and Anisya Kirdyapkina, who did not get a continental crown should have also been included; but the essence of elite athletics is to produce your best on the big occasion and beat your rivals.
In addition, having only 12 nominees for each gender means some hard decisions have to be made about who to include and who to leave off the list.
European Athletics is consequently pleased to announce that athletes from 13 different countries are among the men and women who have been nominated for the Golden Tracks trophy awarded to the best European male and female athletes of the year.
The winning athletes will be decided by counting votes from the fans, media, European Athletics Member Federations as well as an expert European Athletics panel, with the results from each group of voters counting for one quarter of the athlete's final score.
The fan voting takes place through our Facebook page, while members of the media and Member Federations can cast their vote on our website.
Fans are also able to vote through the European Athletics mobile applications on iPhone and Android phones.
The voting will close on Friday 3 October at noon CET.
No athlete who has previously served a two-year doping ban can be nominated for the Golden Tracks.
Antti Ruuskanen FIN (javelin): the London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist showed great late season form, winning his continental title with a personal best and European-leading mark of 88.01m. He also won at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm.
Adam Kszczot POL (800m): the two-time European indoor champion finally got a continental outdoor title in Zurich; earlier in the year, he was the IAAF World Indoor Championships 800m silver medallist on home soil in Sopot.
Andrei Krauchanka BLR (decathlon): the 2011 European indoor heptathlon champion bounced back from failing to finish in Gotzis to win in Zurich with a world-leading tally of 8616 points, a performance which included three personal bests in individual events.
Bogdan Bondarenko UKR (high jump): In addition to his European title, the 2013 world champion equalled the European record with his 2.42m clearance in New York and also won at the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Monaco and Lausanne.
David Storl GER (shot put): the two-time world champion retained his European title with relative ease as the only man over 21 metres in the final. He set a personal best and European-leading mark of 21.97m when winning in London on 20 July.
Greg Rutherford GBR (long jump): the London 2012 Olympic Games champion leads the world this year with his early season 8.51m and backed it up by winning the Commonwealth Games and European titles in quick succession.
Kristzian Pars HUN (hammer): the 2012 London Olympic Games champion added the European title to his list of honours with what was a world-leading throw of 82.69m, which was also a personal best. He also won the season-long IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge.
Martin Rooney GBR (400m): produced his best when it mattered most by winning the Europe title in 44.71, the best time by a European this year. He also anchored Great Britain to the 4x400m gold medals in Zürich with a sizzling last leg of 43.93.
Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad FRA (1500m/3000m steeplechase): returned from the disappointment of being disqualified in the steeplechase after crossing the line first, to win the 1500m. Later clocked a European-leading time of 8:03.23 over the barriers in Brussels.
Mo Farah GBR (long distances): took his European gold medal track total to five after wins in the 5000m and 10,000m in Zurich. He also ran the European-leading marathon time of 2:08:21 when making his debut over the classic distance at the London Marathon.
Renaud Lavillenie FRA (pole vault): the 2012 Olympic champion set a world record earlier this year with his 6.16m leap indoors, defended his European title, had a 21-competition winning streak until he failed to clear a height in Stockholm and won the Diamond Race.
Yohann Diniz FRA (50km walk): won an unprecedented third consecutive title in Zurich and provided the single most spectacular performance of the European Athletics Championships when he produced a world record of 3:32:33, taking almost two minutes off the previous mark.
Anita Wlodarcyzk POL (hammer): in addition to her continental crown, the 2009 world champion regained her world record with a massive throw of 79.58m in Berlin and was unbeaten in 2014 apart from her opening meeting of the season.
Barbora Špotáková CZE (javelin): returned from maternity leave in 2013 with wins at the European Team Championships, in Zurich, and four wins in the IAAF Diamond League to clinch the Diamond Race, including a world-leading throw of 67.99m in Brussels.
Christelle Daunay FRA (road running): set a championship best of 2:25:14 when winning the European marathon title but she was also the top European finisher at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in March, with a European-leading time of 1:08:48.
Christina Schwanitz GER (shot put): she remains the outstanding European in her event and the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships silver medallist was the only European over 20 metres this year, over half-a-metre better than her nearest continental rival.
Dafne Schippers NED (sprints): still better known as a heptathlete, the flying Dutchwoman won a stunning 100m and 200m double in Zurich, clocking 11.12 and then a national record and European-leading time of 22.03; she leads the European 100m list with 11.03.
Eilidh Child GBR (400m hurdles): won in a European-leading time of 54.39 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Glasgow on 11 July; on the same track three weeks later took the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games before winning European gold last month.
Libania Grenot ITA (400m): Europe’s top runner over one lap of the track, she clocked a European-leading 50.55 when winning her national title in July, half-a-second faster than any other European managed this year, and backed this up with a European title.
Marina Arzamasova BLR (800m): chose her moment to shine at the European Athletics Championships by hitting the front with 60 metres to go and crossing the line in 1:58.15, a personal best and the fastest time by a European runner this year.
Olha Saladukha UKR (triple jump): the 2011 world champion put behind her the problems at home and put together an excellent series to take her third successive European title; earlier in the year she had won the IAAF World Indoor Championships silver medal.
Ruth Beitia ESP (high jump): defended her European title with a leap of 2.01m, which equalled the best performance in the world this year, and the 35-year-old also won a bronze medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships earlier in the year.
Sandra Perkovic CRO (discus): the reigning World and Olympic champion had a magnificent season, not only winning the Diamond Race but also her third European title with a throw of 71.08m, a Croatian record and the longest throw in the world since 1992.
Sifan Hassan NED (1500m): won in a world-leading time and national record of 3:57.00 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris on 5 July and clinched the European title with a brutal sprint finish, she is also the fastest European this year over 3000m and 5000m.