Team GB Come Out On TopJake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016
British athletes recorded an historic number of gold medals at the European Championships thanks to an impressive final push.
Finishing the Championships with a record-breaking 12 gold medals, Team GB couldn’t have hoped for a more successful competition. In a sensational two hours at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich, victories for Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford, the Men’s 400m Relay team and both sprint relay teams allowed Britain to finish with three more gold medals that they have ever won before.
Britain’s unparalleled success at the Championships meant they left Zurich with a record total of 23 medals.
Farah’s triumphs at this year’s Championships make him the most successful non-relay athlete in the history of the competition having added both 5,000m and 1,000m golds to his collection. Farah now hold 5 European Championships gold medals, more than such legends as Colin Jackson and Fanny Blankers-Koen.
Fellow Brit Andy Vernon bagged himself bronze in the 5,000m, but couldn’t keep up with Farah and Azerbaijan’s Hayle Ibrahimov, who secured the silver medal.
Brendan Foster, BBC athletics commentator, commented, “Mo Farah had to run faster [for the 5,000m] than he had to in the 10,000m. What a fantastic last lap. He has run himself into medal history. He controlled that race like I’ve not seen anybody control a race for many a year.”
Despite a year of ups and downs, Farah proved to be back on top form in Zurich.
“Training has gone well in the last couple of weeks and that gave me confidence. History is important to me and it feels great to make my country proud,” he said.
In the long jump final Greg Rutherford dominated, winning his first European Championships gold medal with a fourth round jump of 8.29m – just a fortnight after his Commonwealth gold in Glasgow.
He commented: “It is a real sense of relief because I was seeing how well the British team was doing and everybody was saying to me, ‘You have to go out and do it.’ I was so pleased I could.”
One of the most impressive performances of the final day was the Women’s 4x100m. With an average age of just 21, the team managed to smash the national record that had remained unbeaten for decades.
The men’s team, including 200m champion Adam Gemili, succeeded in securing their own relay gold, beating both Germany and France.
With England topping the medals table at the Commonwealth Games and Great Britain finishing in first place at the European Championships, Brits are optimistic for continued success at the halfway point in the race to the 2016 Rio Olympics.