The 2010s was unique for European Athletics as five editions of the European Athletics Championships were held with the championships now taking place on a two year cycle as opposed to a four year cycle.
And from established events such as the European Championships, the European Athletics Indoor Championships and the SPAR European Cross Country Championships to new events such as The Match which made its debut in Minsk in September, there is plenty to review from a European perspective.
This is our first part of our A-Z of the 2010s with the second instalment to be published tomorrow.
A is for Albufeira
As the first year of the decade ended, the Portuguese city was home to a landmark moment at when it played host to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships. It was there that Ukraine’s sensational Sergiy Lebid won the senior men’s race for the ninth and final time. An era truly came to an end, a feat that may never be repeated.
B is for Berlin
Anyone who was there - or the millions watching on television - will never forget the European Athletics Championships in Berlin in 2018. “Thank you, Berlin. You have delivered the best European Championships ever, that is for sure” – the words of European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen after an event where the crowds were magnificent, the competition was electric and the setting of the famous Olympic Stadium with its blue track made it a week to remember.
C is for Combined Events
Europe’s strength on the global stage lies in the combined events. All five world heptathlon titles have been won by European athletes - Jessica Ennis-Hill in 2011 and 2015, Hanna Kasyanova in 2013, Nafissatou Thiam in 2017 and Katarina Johnson-Thompson in 2019 - the world decathlon record is the ownership of a European exponent again after France’s Kevin Mayer improved Ashton Eaton’s mark to 9126 points in Talence last September.
D is for Diniz
Frenchman Yohann Diniz followed up his gold medal in the 50km race walk at the 2006 European Championships with further triumphs in Barcelona in 2010 and Zurich in 2014. His time of 3:32:33 in Zurich broke the world record and this remains the last world record to be set at the European Championships.
E is for European Championships.
The European Championships in Barcelona was a significant event, marking the last European Athletics Championships to be at the end of a four-year cycle. The European Championships are now held biennially and the 2018 European Championships in Berlin was the first to be part of the wider multi-sports European Championships programme.
F is for Family
The decade has seen the rise of amazing Ingebrigtsen family. Henrik, Filip and Jakob – all trained by their father Gjert – have won a staggering 20 individual European medals between. They have also won three of the last four European 1500m titles with Henrik triumphing in Helsinki 2012 before Filip and Jakob in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
The Borlees have been similarly successful over the span of the decade. Kevin won the individual 400m at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona before all three brothers joined forces with Julien Watrin to win the 4x400m title at the 2019 European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
G is for Growth
The sport has developed even further over the last decade with bigger participation levels across the board, with Running For All becoming a major focus for European Athletics as well as the continued success of the Young Leaders initiatives. Last year 68 young professionals from 44 Member Federations took part in the European Athletics Young Leaders Forum in Berlin where key speakers included IAAF President Sebastian Coe.
H is for Hassan
The Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan said goodbye to the decade not only as the double world champion with her exploits in Doha but she does so as the holder of six European records outdoors: 1500m (3:51.95), mile (4:12.33), 3000m (8:18.49), 5000m (14:22.34), 5km (14:44) and the half marathon (65:15).
I is for I Run Clean
The I Run Clean message has appeared on bibs at major events since the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Hyeres in 2015 and the completion of the I Run Clean online education programme has become a mandatory step in all major age-group championships since the European Athletics U18 Championships in Gyor. Its completion will also become mandatory for entry into the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships.
J is for Jump
And two in particular at the 2011 European Indoor Championships in Paris. In front of his home fans, French triple jumper Tammy Tamgho produced an afternoon for the ages. As the world record-holder indoors with 17.91m, Tamgho went a centimetre further in the second round and then repeated the feat two rounds later with another amazing 17.92m to the delight of the fans on the final afternoon.
K is for Kszczot
Calmly spoken, efficient on the track and with a blistering burst of pace, Poland’s 800m star Adam Kszczot is one of the European athletes of this decade. He has won three European indoor titles - Paris 2011, Gothenburg 2013 and Belgrade 2017 - as well as the last three European outdoor titles - Zurich 2014, Amsterdam 2016 and Berlin 2018. Kszczot is also the reigning world indoor champion and a two-time world outdoor medallist.
L is for Lavillenie
The date was 15 February 2014, the venue was Donetsk, the competition was the Pole Vault Stars and the superstar in action was Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie who cleared 6.16m to break the world record held by the legendary Ukrainian Sergey Bubka, and he did it in his home city with Bubka in attendance. Lavillenie also won four successive European indoor titles from 2009 and 2015 and three European outdoor titles from 2010 and 2014.
M is for The Match
The competition was launched this year with stars from Team Europe and Team United States going head-to-head in Minsk, Belarus in September. Team Europe won with 724.5 points to the visitors' 601.5 over two days of fantastic action. Highlights included Maksim Nedasekau clearing 2.35m to win the high jump and Germany's Johannes Vetter winning the javelin with 90.03m.