Norway's INGEBRIGTSEN shines as Great Britain top athletics medal table
BERLIN - Great Britain may have finished top of the athletics medal table at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships but it is the image of a Norwegian wunderkind that will live longest in the mind after seven days of action in the Berlin Olympic Stadium and the city's famous streets.
The sight of 17-year-old Jakob INGEBRIGTSEN moving smoothly away from the continent's best middle-distance runners on Friday evening to become the third member of his family to win a men's 1500m title was one of the moments of the entire championships.
When he repeated the feat the following night in the 5000m final, ahead of his older brother Henrik, he swiftly wrote his name into the athletics record books as the first to do that distance double in 24 editions of the European championships, a period stretching back 84 years to 1934.
That he did it while still a junior in the space of just 24 hours only adds to his astonishing achievement. "It was a little crazy to get this medal," he said. "This is huge." Indeed it was.
It was a huge championships for Dina ASHER-SMITH, too, as the Briton clinched a unique treble with golds in the women's 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, helping her country rise above Poland to the top of the table with seven golds and 18 medals in all.
There were doubles, trebles, quadruples and more throughout the week as Croatia's discus queen Sandra PERKOVIC claimed her fifth straight title in the circle; Poland's Anita WLODARCYZK won her fourth in the hammer; and Mahiedine MEKHISSI-BENABBAD clinched his fourth steeplechase crown, a fifth gold in all for the prolific Frenchman.
Poland's medals came from both track and field, with the nation's male throwers claiming gold and silver in both shot and hammer, while Adam KSZCZOT became the first man to win three European 800m titles and Justyna SWIETY-ERSETIC pulled off the unique feat of winning individual 400m and relay golds within two hours on Saturday evening.
As for the hosts, Germany won most medals overall, 19 in total, including first and second for Thomas ROHLER and Andreas HOFFER in men's javelin, and victories in the men's high jump, decathlon, women's javelin and women's long jump, plus - most rapturously received of all - Gesa-Felicitas KRAUSE in the women's steeplechase on the final night.
ASHER-SMITH's dominance of the women's sprints was almost matched by her male compatriot Zharnel HUGHES, who triumphed in the men's 100m and sprint relay, while the exuberant Matthew HUDSON-SMITH was a runaway-and-hang-on winner of the men's 400m, and the two Lauras, MUIR and WEIGHTMAN, claimed gold and bronze in the women's 1500m.
HUGHES's winning 100m time of 9.95 seconds was one of 10 championship records over the seven days, the last coming late in the final session when Sweden's 18-year-old pole vaulter Armand DUPLANTIS - another Scandinavian superstar in the making - upstaged France's three-time champion Renaud LAVILLENIE by raising his world junior record to 6.05 metres, becoming only the sixth man in history to have jumped so high.
"I do not think that there are any words in this world to describe what I feel," he said. "I am on the top of the world."
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