Davydova takes the 400m hurdles gold with a world leading time 53.77
With an impeccably judged race, Russia's Irina Davydova clinched the 400m hurdles gold at the 2012 European Athletics Championships in Helsinki in a world leading time of 53.77.
"I'm very happy. I was only thinking of this position," said the 24-year-old winner.
"The time surprised me totally."
Second was an impressive Denisa Rosolova (54.24PB) who only returned to the 400m hurdles this year after first trying it eight years ago with a time of 60.09 at the age of 17.
"I don't normally race this event," said Rosolova.
"This was my first time so the start for this could not been any better. Really happy with the silver medal."
Third with an equally well judged run-in was the Ukraine's Anna Yaroshchuk, who also ran a lifetime best of 54.35 for bronze.
"It was a very hard race, I gave it all," said the Ukrainian.
"I'm very happy with my third position. Today was very good for me, the next time I hope to win a gold medal."
Yaroschuk's final surge took her past the Czech Republic's Zuzana Hejnova who until the final five metres appeared to have secured a medal.
As the gun went, the field set off conservatively, except for Hejnova who had a clear lead as they reached the third hurdle.
But it was at this stage that Davydova in lane five and with Hejnova in her sights on her outside settled
into her running and started to wrest the initiative from her rivals.
On her inside, Rosolova was also going well, tracking the Russian's every move.
As they came round the tight bend to enter the straight, Davydova held a clear lead and was looking comfortable.
The two Czechs seemed safe in the minor medal positions but were clearly at their limits and making no impression on the Russian who looked utterly composed and concentrated on the task in hand.
Making her final push for the line, though, was Yaroschuk and she was eating dramatically into Hejnova's lead.
With five metres to go, she just squeezed past a tiring Hejnova and the bonze was hers.
Try as she might, and she never lost her composure either, Rosolova was making no impression on Daydova but she clinched silver and a PB to confirm that she has yet another arrow to her bow.
Reigning European indoor 400m champion, Rosolova has also competed in the heptathlon, her highest score of 6104 coming in Kladno four years ago.
Davydova's time improved her own world leading time coming into this competition by a tenth of a second.
In fifth Russia's Yelena Churakova also set career best figures of 54.78.
Apart from world university games silver last year, this is by far Davydova's biggest win to date.
Last year she only had a personal best of 55.48, but now finds herself the owner of the top two times in the world.
With three of the top five women in the world coming to Helsinki, the 400m hurdles always promised to be the quality event on the track programme. With five women beating 55sec, it fulfilled its promise.