This is our second part of our A-Z retrospective of the 2010s from a European perspective. The first part can be found here.
N is for Nedasekau
Maksim Nedasekau first came to note at the Grosseto 2017 European Athletics U20 Championships where he cleared a brilliant 2.33m in the high jump to break the championship record, one of four to be set in the Tuscan city. Nedasekau won silver in his first season as a senior at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin before two more notable wins in 2019 at the Gavle 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships and at The Match in Minsk.
O is for Oprea
Veteran Romanian triple jumper Marian Oprea made a record equalling seventh appearance at the European Championships in Berlin last summer. Oprea didn’t make it through qualifying in the German capital but he does have a silver medal to his name from the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona.
P is for Perkovic
Very few Europeans have dominated their event as thoroughly as Sandra Perkovic has this decade. Perkovic came to maturity in Barcelona where she won her first European discus title with a sixth round throw of 64.67m and the Croatian made history at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin by becoming the first ever athlete to win five successive European titles at the same event. At 29, who would bet against Perkovic to make it six titles in a row in Paris next summer?
Q is for Querin
French decathlete Gael Querin is the only athlete with a surname beginning with Q to reach the top eight in a European Championships in the 2010s. He finished fifth in Helsinki 2012 and then ninth in Zurich 2014.
R is for Rothlin
One of the most inspiring stories of the 2010 European Championships was the comeback of Viktor Rothlin who returned from a pulmonary embolism to win the marathon title in Barcelona. He brought his career to an end four years later in Zurich, finishing ninth on home soil to play a key role in Switzerland’s bronze medal-winning team.
S is for Schippers
Dafne Schippers only made her European Championships debut in 2012 but she is one of the most bemedalled athletes in championship history with eight to her credit. Her run of success dates back to Helsinki when she helped the Netherlands to silver in the 4x100m relay when she was still primarily a heptathlete and a 100/200m double two years later in Zurich galvanised her decision to focus solely on the sprints.
Schippers went on to win the 200m at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships - the first in a European record of 21.63 - but many forget her first global medal was achieved in the heptathlon two years earlier in Moscow when she was only 21.
T is for Tbilisi
The European Athletics U18 Championships were added to the calendar in 2016 when they took place in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. The championships are held every two years with Gyor, Hungary staging the second edition in 2018 with Rieti, Italy to take up the reins in 2020.
U is for Urena
Jorge Urena won one of three gold medals for Spain on the final day of the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships to become the first Spaniard to win a major title in the combined events, improving on his silver medal from two years prior and Antonio Penalver’s bronze medal from 1992.
V is for Vetter
Who would have thought Thomas Rohler’s 93.90m in May 2017 would only remain the German record in the javelin for as little as two months? This was the longest anyone had ever thrown since the halcyon days of Jan Zelezny in the mid-1990s but Johannes Vetter eclipsed his compatriot’s mark on a drizzly evening in Luzern with a magnificent series highlighted by a fourth round throw of 94.44m.
Vetter went on to triumph at the World Championships in London before smashing the championship record at the European Throwing Cup in March 2018 with 92.70m. Vetter’s progress over the last eighteen months has been punctuated by injury but he did put up a stern defence of his world title in Doha, coming away with the bronze medal.
W is for Wlodarczyk
The irrepressible Anita Wlodarczyk is quite possibly the most dominant athlete of the decade. Between 2014 and 2018, Wlodarczyk set the 15 longest throws of all-time and improved the world record from 79.42m to 82.98m. Wlodarczyk was unable to defend her world hammer title in Doha due to injury but she will return in 2020 to defend her Olympic and European titles.
✅Fourth gold medal
You voted for Anita Wlodarczyk's fourth successive gold medal in the hammer as #TheMoment of day six at the European Championships!#EC2018 pic.twitter.com/qFFH2MQ6TA
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) August 13, 2018
X is for the x-Bionic Sphere
Slovakia held its first ever major European Athletics competition in 2017 when the SPAR European Cross Country Championships took place at the x-Bionic Sphere in Samorin. The x-Bionic Sphere is Slovakia’s foremost sporting facility for aspiring Slovakian sportspeople and the multisport venue also staged the European Throwing Cup in March as well as the yearly PTS Meeting.
Y is for Youngsters
The exploits of teen sensations have rightly dominated the coverage of recent major championships. With his 1500/5000m double in Berlin, Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, 17 at the time, became the youngest ever male athlete to win a European title before Sweden’s 18-year-old Armand Duplantis became the youngest men’s field event gold medallist at the European Championships, smashing the world U20 record with 6.05m. He also became the youngest ever pole vaulter to clear the six metre-barrier.
Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh was similarly prolific at this year’s World Championships in Doha, clearing world U20 records of 2.02m and 2.04m to win silver in the high jump, less than two weeks after celebrating her 18th birthday.
Z is for Zurich
The European Championships returned to Swiss soil after sixty years when Zurich’s Letzigrund Stadium held the championships in 2014. Great Britain & NI dominated the medal table, winning 12 gold medals in total - and 23 in total - ahead of France, Germany and Russia.