Femke Bol, Armand Duplantis and Jakob Ingebrigtsen have been crowned European Athletes of the Year at the Golden Tracks award ceremony which was held in the Estonian capital of Tallinn on Saturday (22).
Bol, Duplantis and Ingebrigtsen collectively won a phenomenal nine major titles in 2022, including six gold medals at the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championships. Fellow European champions Elina Tzengko and Mykolas Alekna, who both won gold medals in Munich as teenagers, were crowned this year’s Rising Stars.
It has only taken Bol one year to graduate from being crowned women’s Rising Star to women’s European Athlete of the Year. In doing so, she is the fourth Dutch winner of this accolade in eight years, following in the footsteps of Dafne Schippers (2014, 2015) and Sifan Hassan (2021).
Bol was one of the biggest stars of the European Athletics Championships where she won a unique and remarkable treble. Bol began her campaign with victory in the 400m in 49.44 - the fastest winning time at the championships for 36 years - before winning the 400m hurdles in a championship record of 52.67.
In her fifth race of the championships, Bol produced a blistering 48.52 split in the 4x400m relay to anchor the Netherlands to gold in 3:20.87 - also the fastest winning time at the European Athletics Championships since 1986.
Bol also won silver in the 400m hurdles at the World Athletics Championships behind USA’s Sydney McLaughlin, her only defeat of the season outdoors in either the 400m and 400m hurdles. She also anchored the Netherlands to silver in the mixed 4x400m relay at those championships.
Bol broke the 53 second-barrier six times in the 400m hurdles and at the age of 22, the Dutchwoman holds six of the seven fastest times in history by a European athlete.
Bol was one of three finalists alongside Ukraine’s world indoor and European high jump champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh and world and European heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam from Belgium.
For the first time in award history, the men’s European Athlete of the Year trophy was awarded jointly to Sweden’s Armand Duplantis and Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen who both won three major gold medals and revised the record books in 2022.
In a truly superlative year, Duplantis broke the world record in the pole vault three times, including twice in major championships. The Swede cleared 6.20m at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade before soaring over 6.21m at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
Less than a month later, Duplantis improved his championship record to 6.06m in cool and wet conditions at the European Athletics Championships in Munich.
Ingebrigtsen began his year by setting a world indoor 1500m record of 3:30.60 in Lievin, a prologue to a season in which he won five major medals including 1500m silver and 5000m gold at the World Athletics Championships and another 1500/5000m double at the European Athletics Championships.
Duplantis and Ingebrigtsen were also jointly named men’s Rising Star in 2018 and since then, their careers have followed very similar trajectories.
After teen triumphs at the 2018 European Athletics Championships, the duo went on to win Olympic gold medals in Tokyo before completing the set of major titles at the World Athletics Championships. Both went on to retain their European titles in Munich.
Ingebrigtsen follows in the footsteps of his compatriot Karsten Warholm who was crowned men’s European Athlete of the Year in 2019 and 2021.
Ingebrigtsen and Duplantis, who was unable to attend the award ceremony, were two of the three finalists for this accolade alongside world indoor and European long jump champion Miltiadis Tentoglou from Greece.
Tzengko and Alekna crowned Rising Stars
Greece’s Elina Tzengko and Lithuania’s Mykolas Alekna were also crowned women’s and men’s Rising Stars for 2022.
Both athletes won gold medals at the European Athletics Championships at the age of 19, the youngest gold medallists in championship history in their respective events.
Tzengko won the javelin title with a lifetime best of 65.81m while Alekna upgraded his silver medal from the World Athletics Championships with gold in Munich, setting a championship record of 69.78m in the discus to defeat a field which included world champion Kristjan Ceh and all three medallists from the Olympic Games last year
Alekna was fittingly presented with his award by Estonian discus legend Gerd Kanter, who had so many great battles with Mykolas’ father and 2005 European Athlete of the Year Virgilijus in the 2000s.
Tzengko was one of three finalists for the women’s Rising Star award alongside high jumpers Angelina Topic from Serbia and Estonia’s Karmen Bruus - both of whom equalled the world U18 best of 1.96m this year - while Alekna was nominated alongside double European U18 champions Mattia Furlani from Italy and Dutch distance running prodigy Niels Laros.
Outstanding servants of the sport were also recognised and celebrated at the Golden Tracks award ceremony.
Ukraine’s Iolanta Khropach was the first recipient of this year’s European Athletics Member Federation awards, an accolade which is presented annually to individuals who have dedicated themselves to the sport at a national or continental level in an administrative or organisational capacity.
The first of the 2022 European Athletics Coaching Awards were also handed out at the Golden Tracks to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Kada Delić–Selimović and Estonia’s Heiko Väät.
In total, 25 European Athletics Member Federation Awards and 70 European Athletics Coaching Awards will be handed out this year.
The remaining recipients will receive their awards at ceremonies in their home countries at a later date. More details about these awards can be found here.
Andorra’s Nahuel Carabana was also awarded the European Athletics Fair Play Award for his sportsmanship at the European Athletics Championships in Munich where he sacrificed his race to assist an injured opponent in the heats of the 3000m steeplechase.
The European Athlete of the Year trophy has been presented annually since 1993 and the Rising Star award was introduced in 2007.
Summary of winners:
- Women’s European Athlete of the Year - Femke Bol (NED)
- Men’s European Athletes of the Year - Armand Duplantis (SWE), Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR)
- Women’s Rising Star - Elina Tzengko (GRE)
- Men’s Rising Star - Mykolas Alekna (LTU)
- European Athletics Fair Play Award - Nahuel Carabana (AND)
- European Athletics Member Federation Award - Iolanta Khropach (UKR)
- European Athletics Coaching Award - Kada Delic-Selimovic (BIH), Heiko Vaat (EST)