Blanka Vlasic celebrates winning the IAAF / VTB Bank Continental Cup in Split (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News 8 October 2010 – Lausanne, Switzerland

Vlasic and Lemaitre named 2010 European athletes of the year

Lausanne, SwitzerlandBlanka Vlasic of Croatia and Christophe Lemaitre of France were voted European Athletes of the Year, European Athletics has announced.

Vlasic, who defended her World indoor High Jump title in Doha in March, became only the third woman to the continent’s top honour for a second time.  Lemaitre, still just 20, followed a rapid trajectory, garnering the award just 12 months after winning the continent’s Rising Star of the Year honour.

The story behind Vlasic’s success in the polls is that this summer the Samsung Diamond League Ambassador filled one of the few remaining gaps in her trophy cabinet when she won at the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona.

Her triumph in Barcelona followed on from an unbeaten indoor season during which she won the World indoor title and also improved her indoor best, which is inevitably a Croatian record, to 2.06m. The height was not bettered by anyone in the world in 2010.

Outdoors, she won 12 out of her 14 competitions including all seven of the Samsung Diamond League meetings at which her event was contested, and at the IAAF / VTB Bank Continental Cup, which was held in her home city of Split.

Lemaitre made history at the European Championships by becoming the first man to win three gold medals – 100m, 200m and 4x100m Relay – at a single championships. He was the fastest man in Europe over both the 100m and 200m in 2010, clocking national records of 9.97 and 20.16 during the summer.

Fans, media and European Athletics Member Federations were invited to vote for the European Athlete of the Year on the European Athletics website. Along with the votes from a panel of experts, each group of voters' results count for one quarter of the athlete's final score.

Both athletes will receive their awards at the European Athletics Awards Night presented by MONDO on Saturday 16 October in Belgrade, alongside the European Athletics Rising Star of the Year winners Teddy Tamgho and Sandra Perkovic.

Andreas Thorkildsen, Norway’s reigning Olympic and World champion in the Javelin Throw, and Mo Farah of Great Britain, who won both the 5000m and 10,000m at the European Championships, finished second and third in the men’s balloting.

Jessica Ennis of Great Britain, the reigning World champion in the Heptathlon, and German sprinter Verena Sailer, were second and third on the women’s side.

European Athletics