Bayer is a cut above the rest
|Sebastian Bayer of Germany claimed the long jump
gold with a season's best leap of 8.34m on Sunday.
In the first two rounds of the competition, Bayer, 26, produced fouls. The pressure was on. He had to deliver at the third time of asking because he would have been out.
He did, with a run-up that looked slightly faster and a leap that had more rhythm than the previous two and his landing looked good.
Bayer waited for the few seconds for the scoreboard to show 8.03m which meant he was into the second part of the final.
And the best was still to come in.
What goes through the mind of athletes when they have to compose themselves for a jump when the pressure is on is amazing.
It is nothing to do with training. It is all about those quiet moments alone when the psychological side of the sport takes over.
As Spain's Luiz Felipe Meliz led the competition after his second round effort of 8.21m, Bayer lifted his game, he jumped 8.09m in the fourth round before deciding now was the time.
As he took off for his fifth jump, he looked full of the confidence that had deserted him at the start. And it showed when this time the scoreboard flashed up 8.33m.
He was in front and just to make his victory even a little sweeter he went to 8.34m in the last round.
Bayer said: "It was one of the most exhausting competitions I have ever had. The first two tries were invalid so I was under a lot of pressure at the end but I am happy that won after all."
He is hardly a stranger to glory in the long jump. He has won the gold at the last two European Indoor Athletics Championships in Turin in 2009 and Paris two years later.
Bayer was fifth back in 2005 at the European Junior Championships but he also has another landmark statistic which gives major credence to his career.
When he won in Turin, he took gold in an amazing 8.71m which is the second longest long jump in history behind American legend Carl Lewis' 8.79m.
It was a big day too for Finland's Tommi Evila, who had fabulous support with every jump - he managed only three - and team-mate Roni Ollikainen who was sixth with 8.05m.
Evila's first was a foul, the second was 7.79m, the third was another foul and he was out.
He said: "I am really disappointed today. The weather was great, the home crowd was great and my running is in good shape. I just couldn't get my step marks right. Now I'll just concentrate on the Olympics."
Ollikainen said: "It is rare to win a medal at the first European Athletics Championship and I could not do it either. Next time I will try to do better. I was not happy with my technique today."
But it was still a big day for both the Finnish athletes who will never forget their moment as this outstanding stadium, with all its memories of so many major championships, delivered a day to remember again.