With the surprise retirement of the US world record holder Ashton Eaton, the stage was set in 2017 for a new star to shine in combined events competitions and Kevin Mayer rose to the challenge to fill the vacuum left by the American as the world's premier multi-events exponent.
The 25-year-old Frenchman, who won a silver medal behind Eaton in the decathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympics Games, was on top of the podium at a major championship just seven months later with a victory in the heptathlon at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March, and with a European record into the bargain.
Having finished second in the seven-event competition at this championship in 2013, Mayer was the dominant force this time and scored 6479 to break the mark held by Czech Republic’s Roman Sebrle by 41 points and move to second on the world all-time list behind Eaton’s world record of 6645.
Within that brilliant score came five separate personal bests as he won by over 250 points in the Serbian capital.
There was simply no stopping the former world and European U20 decathlon champion on his march to his first senior continental title, moving into the lead after the second event, the long jump, where he equalled his best-ever distance of 7.54m to go alongside his personal best of 6.95 from the opening 60m.
A season’s best of 15.66m in the shot put took him 96 points clear of the field before he extended his advantage at the end of the first day with a 2.10m clearance in the high jump.
His second day began with a personal best of 7.88 in the 60m hurdles and although the title – and the record – were edging closer, he had not actually won an individual event at that stage in the competition.
Nevertheless, his event-by-event consistency was superb.
Victory then came in the pole vault where he recorded a lifetime best of 5.40m before he dug deep in the 1000m, covering five laps of the Kombank Arena in 2:41.08, a time which brought him enough point to take him into the record books.
Mayer’s magnificent win in Belgrade set the tone for the summer when he was sensational again in winning the decathlon at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 with a world-leading 8768 points.