Have your say and vote now for your men’s European Athlete of the Year across social media!
A long-list of 10 athletes has been compiled by an expert panel based largely on performances achieved at the European Athletics Championships in Munich, World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade and the Diamond League finals in Zurich.
The social media vote accounts for one-quarter of the overall vote with the Member Federations vote, media vote and expert panel vote each accounting for one-quarter of the vote. You can cast your vote by retweeting the image of the athlete you wish to vote for on Twitter, by liking the image on Instagram or by liking or sharing on Facebook.
Voting closes across all channels on Friday 30 September and a shortlist of three athletes will be announced in each category in the week starting 3 October.
Sports company PUMA has signed Qatari athlete Mutaz Essa Barshim, one of the most successful high jumpers of all time, who will wear the company’s performance products starting at the Diamond League Meeting in Lausanne.
With three World Championships and an Olympic Gold to his name, Barshim has already won everything there is to win in his sport. At the World Championships in Eugene this year, he successfully defended his title and showed he is still on top of his game.
“We are so happy to welcome Mutaz to our PUMA Family,” said Pascal Rolling, Head of Sports Marketing. “He is an incredibly talented athlete, and his charm and sportsmanship has done much to promote athletics across the globe.”
Famously, Barshim and Italian PUMA athlete Gianmarco Tamberi decided to share the Gold at the Olympic Games in Tokyo after jumping the same height, creating memorable moments of fairness and comradery.
Barshim’s personal best of 2.43 meters is the Asian Record and the second-highest jump of all time. At PUMA, Barshim is part of a group of world-class athletes such as 400m hurdles World Record Holder Karsten Warholm, pole vault World Record Holder Armand “Mondo” Duplantis and Jamaican sprinters Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah.
At least six reigning Olympic champions will take to the track at Stade Louis II when the Wanda Diamond League reaches its tenth stop of the 2022 season at Herculis Monaco on August 10th.
Just a few weeks after the World Athletics Championships in Oregon and four days after the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Silesia, the world’s best athletes will hit the Côte de’Azur for one of the last opportunities to pick up points in their bid to reach the Final in September.
Faith Kipyegon set a new national record and personal best at Herculis ahead of her Tokyo triumph last season. She will be out to claim her second Diamond League win of the season in the 1500m when she returns next month.
Gianmarco Tamberi, by contrast, has mixed memories of Monaco. His personal best of 2.39m there in 2016 was swiftly followed by a career-changing injury which saw him miss that summer’s Olympics. The Italian high jumper’s incredible road back to the top climaxed last year when he won a joint gold medal alongside Mutaz Essa Barshim in Tokyo. This year, he heads to Monaco as reigning Olympic and Diamond League champion.
In the 110m hurdles, Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment will be out to secure his place in the Diamond League final in his first appearance at Herculis since 2018. The reigning Olympic champion is only the fifth-fastest man in the world this year, but is on course for qualification following his early-season victory in Birmingham.
Katie Nageotte, meanwhile, is still waiting for her first Diamond League win of what has been a tough 2022 campaign so far. Currently sixth in the rankings, her second place finish behind compatriot Sandi Morris in Birmingham means she should still comfortably make the Final, but the Olympic women’s pole vault champion is still searching for the form which saw her soar to gold in Japan.
Greek long jump star Miltiadis Tentoglou has a clean sweep of Diamond League victories in 2022, having won at each of the three events in Rabat, Oslo and Stockholm. His victory in Monaco last year was a precursor to his Olympic triumph, and he could yet join a select group of athletes to win every single Diamond League meeting in a single season.
Women’s 3000m steeplechase champion Peruth Chemutai was one of the surprise packages of last year’s Olympics, and the Ugandan will be hoping to pick up her first ever Diamond League win in Monaco, a track which saw a world record in her discipline as recently as 2018.
When World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe began his review of the year by highlighting “some jaw-dropping performances” he perfectly encapsulated the sport’s current paradox – people are stunned by what they are seeing, but not necessarily impressed.
For decades, huge world records were often greeted with a weary assumption of doping but many of today’s even bigger leaps are the result of “performance-enhancing technology”.
The dropping of the jaw is all-too often accompanied by the shaking of the head as a succession of astounding performances on track and road have left fans utterly discombobulated.
Illustrating the issue perfectly was the men’s Olympic 400 metre hurdles final in Tokyo this year, widely acclaimed as one of the greatest races in history.
American Kevin Young’s world record of 46.78 seconds had stood for 29 years before Norway’s Karsten Warholm finally nibbled eight hundredths off it in Oslo in July.
In Tokyo, Warholm scorched an incredible 45.94 seconds, while American Rai Benjamin and Brazilian Alison do Santos were also inside Youngs’ mark that had been untouchable for almost three decades.
As sceptics reacted not with adulation but with questions about the seemingly obvious impact of the new carbon-plated, thick-soled spikes and the “energy-returning” Tokyo track, Benjamin hit back by saying he could have done it in any shoes.
“No one will do what we just did,” he said. “Kevin Young, Edwin Moses (who broke the world record four times and won two Olympic golds in a 10 year run of 122 consecutive race wins), respect to those guys, but they cannot run what we just ran.”
It was a similar story, albeit with smaller margins, in the women’s event where Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad ran inside McLaughlin’s pre-Games world record and almost a second faster than the mark set by Russian Yuliya Pechonkina in 2003 that stood for 16 years.
Of course, times have always got faster and technical innovations have helped, but the leaps being seen now are, in the words of Warholm himself, “taking credibility away from our sport” as he bizarrely criticised Benjamin’s carbon shoes for having thicker soles than his own.
One of the other highlights of the Tokyo Olympic programme was Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah’s unprecedented retention of both 100m and 200m titles as, also aided by carbon spikes, she edged within touching distance of the extraordinary and hugely dubious times set by the late Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988.
It is a similar story on the roads, where World Athletics’ 2020 shoe design rules must be one of the greatest examples of closing the stable door after the horse has not only bolted but disappeared over the hills.
Records continue to tumble at all levels and this year has seen almost two minutes wiped off the women’s half-marathon world record, in three massive bites.
Coe says it is pointless now trying to place these seemingly stupendous performances in historical context and, in the case of the two 400m hurdles races, for example, he is surely right that fans should sit back and just appreciate the stunning head-to-head showdowns on the biggest stage of all.
However, perhaps the most uplifting event of the athletics year did not feature a record, or an outright winner, as Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Italian Gianmarco Tamberi found themselves locked together after three fails at 2.39 metres in the Olympic high jump final.
Barshim asked an official: “Can we have two golds?” and when he said “yes”, and both men erupted in joy, it was truly one of the great Olympic moments.
The Italian Olympic movement is furious over the exclusion of sprinter Marcell Jacobs from the nominees list for male athlete of the year by World Athletics, with a senior official calling it “a lack of respect” and “profoundly wrong.”
The sport’s governing body announced a list of 10 nominees for the prestigious award but found no room for the only man to win two golds on the track at the Tokyo Olympics. Jacobs was the surprise Olympic champion in the 100 metres – the signature event of track and field – and also helped Italy to gold in the 4×100 relay.
“It’s profoundly wrong,” Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malagò said Friday, a day after the nominees were announced. “We’re very upset.”
Italian high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi, who tied for Olympic gold with Mutaz Barshim in his event moments before Jacobs won the 100, also failed to make the cut. Malagò said the omissions amount to “a lack of respect toward our two athletes.”
The 10 nominees are Joshua Cheptegei, Ryan Crouser, Mondo Duplantis, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Eliud Kipchoge, Pedro Pichardo, Daniel Stahl, Miltiadis Tentoglou, Damian Warner and Karsten Warholm. The nominees were selected by an international panel of athletics experts, comprising representatives from all six continental areas of World Athletics. The winner will be announced in December.
Jacobs, also won the 60 meters at the European Indoor championships in March, did not compete after the Olympics, when he withdrew from his remaining Diamond League events to recover from a knee injury. “As always, the World Athletics Awards will recognise athletes who have performed at the highest level across the year, taking into account not only the Olympic Games, but the one-day meeting circuits,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said.
WORLD ATHLETICS President Sebastian Coe has hailed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the people of Japan for allowing the dreams of the world’s athletes to come to life at what has proven to be the most globally successful edition of the Games for athletics.
A record 83 teams reached finals in Tokyo, highlighting the global reach of the sport, with 43 teams featuring on the medal podium and 23 of those winning gold.
Some 70 per cent of athletes only get one chance to compete at the Olympic Games and in Tokyo athletes made the most of the opportunity under the most challenging circumstances.
Coe thanked Japan and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for providing the best possible platform on which the sport’s stars could shine. Over ten days of competition, three world records, 12 Olympic records, 28 area records and 151 national records were set in these history-making Games.
“To the people of Japan, we know the hardship you have endured and continue to endure in the face of this global pandemic,” Coe said.
“We owe you a massive debt of gratitude for your gracious hospitality, your professionalism and your friendship. You really have been simply the best and we thank you unreservedly.”
The tally of 43 countries on the medal table is the biggest in athletics for more than 20 years, underlining the diversity and depth of talent in the sport. Across all Olympic sports at the Tokyo Games, 93 teams earned medals, so almost 50 percent of those achieved their dreams in athletics.
For 12 teams – Bahamas, Bahrain, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Grenada, Jamaica, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Puerto Rico and Uganda – athletics was their pathway to the Olympic podium.
In total, athletes at the Games covered a combined distance of 2,045,750 metres in track events and 10,737km in road events. Field eventers threw a combined distance of 1508 metres and jumped a combined distance of 2490 metres.
While the platform was set for many record-breaking performances, the Tokyo 2020 Games will also be remembered for its surprise results, close contests, next generation breakthroughs and moments of fair play.
Among the new stars who shone on the global stage were teenagers Athing Mu and Keely Hodgkinson, who claimed respective gold and silver in the women’s 800m at the age of just 19.
Fourteen athletes under the age of 23 won medals, six of them gold, to underline the exceptional talent coming through the sport.
Meanwhile, one of the most heart-warming moments of the Games came in the men’s high jump when Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi – friends and rivals who battled the same career-threatening injury to make it to Tokyo – decided to share the gold.
All of these moments helped to engage and inspire fans around the globe. World Athletics’ social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok) received 14 million engagements during the duration of the Games, and content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube receiving 155 million impressions.
For the first time, World Athletics also provided a second screen experience – Inside Track Tokyo 2020 – which enabled fans to join celebrities, experts and families online as they shared their reactions live while following the excitement of the Games.