In a magnificent showcase of athletic prowess, Femke Bol hailing from the Netherlands and Jakob Ingebrigtsen representing Norway, have once again secured the coveted titles of European Athletes of the Year. This prestigious honor was bestowed upon them at the dazzling annual Golden Tracks award ceremony held in Vilnius, Lithuania this past Saturday.
These two exceptional athletes delivered awe-inspiring performances both on the indoor and outdoor tracks, demonstrating their versatility across various distances. Their incredible journey began at the Istanbul 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships, where both athletes clinched two gold medals, setting the stage for their stellar outdoor campaigns culminating in gold medals at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.
However, their path to victory was not without hurdles to overcome. Bol faced a daunting moment when she stumbled and fell while in contention for the mixed 4x400m title on the first day of competition in Budapest. She showed incredible resilience by bouncing back to secure an authoritative win in the 400m hurdles, concluding the championships with a dramatic anchor leg for the Netherlands in the 4x400m relay, completing a compelling redemption story.
Ingebrigtsen faced his own set of challenges, narrowly missing the 1500m title for the second time, this time to British athlete Josh Kerr. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old Norwegian displayed a stunning sprint finish, overtaking Spain’s Mohamed Katir to successfully defend his world 5000m title.
Both of these remarkable athletes have also left an indelible mark on the record books. Bol initiated her award-winning campaign by setting a world indoor 500m record with a remarkable time of 1:05.63. She then broke the world indoor 400m record, which had stood since 1982, with an exceptional time of 49.26 at the Dutch Indoor Championships in Apeldoorn, the host city for the 2025 European Athletics Indoor Championships. Outdoors, Bol became the first European athlete to break the 52-second barrier in the 400m hurdles, clocking an impressive 51.45 in the London Diamond League.
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Ingebrigtsen, too, set numerous records. He achieved a new world two-mile record with a time of 7:54.10 in Paris, broke the world 2000m record with a time of 4:43.13, and lowered his European 1500m record to 3:27.95 and 3:27.14 in Oslo and Chorzow, respectively. His masterful performances at the Eugene Diamond League, where he secured victories in the mile and 3000m on consecutive afternoons, included setting European records of 3:43.73 and 7:23.63, placing him third on the world all-time lists for both events.
Bol was among the top three finalists for the women’s European Athlete of the Year award, alongside fellow world champions Maria Perez from Spain and Yaroslava Mahuchikh from Ukraine. Ingebrigtsen found himself on the shortlist alongside Sweden’s Armand Duplantis and Miltiadis Tentoglou from Greece, both of whom also clinched gold medals at the World Athletics Championships.
Femke Bol became the first female athlete to win the European Athlete of the Year award in consecutive years since her fellow Dafne Schippers in 2014 and 2015. Meanwhile, Jakob Ingebrigtsen continues the tradition of keeping the men’s award in Norwegian hands, succeeding Karsten Warholm, who claimed the honor in 2019 and 2021. Both Bol and Ingebrigtsen are no strangers to success, having previously been honored with the Rising Star award.