Eilish McColgan, Laura Muir, Jake Wightman: The best moments of European Championships

Multi-sport mastermind Paul Bristow once questioned whether he would ever fulfil his long-term career ambition.

Bronze medalist Eilish McColgan of Great Britain poses on the podium during the Athletics - Women's 5000m Final medal ceremony on day 8 of the European Championships Munich 2022 at Olympiapark on August 18, 2022 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Bronze medalist Eilish McColgan of Great Britain poses on the podium during the Athletics - Women's 5000m Final medal ceremony on day 8 of the European Championships Munich 2022 at Olympiapark on August 18, 2022 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

But after 11 days, nine sports and 1300 medals in magical Munich, it’s fair to say his bold sporting vision has proved an undisputed hit.

It took Bristow, a shrewd sports administrator with over three decade of international expertise working with FIFA and UEFA, 17 years to create the multi-sport European Championships alongside trusted lieutenant Paul Joerg.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The concept finally came to fruition in Glasgow and Berlin in 2018 and four years on, Munich celebrated the 50th anniversary of hosting the Olympics by putting on a similarly scintillating summer bonanza at the very same scene as those storied Games of 1972.

Gold medalist Laura Muir of Great Britain celebrates after the Athletics - Women's 1500m Final on day 9 of the European Championships Munich 2022 at Olympiapark on August 19, 2022 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

There were thrills, spills, medals and memories from the track to the velodrome, gymnastics hall to beach volleyball courts and climbing walls to the water and after a jam-packed fortnight of action, we’ve picked out the best of the bunch.

Eilish McColgan – 10,000m silver and 5000m bronze

Eilish McColgan came into this summer with just one major outdoor medal to her name after winning 5000m silver at the previous European Championships in Berlin.

But in the space of 16 gruelling days in both Birmingham and Bavaria, she catapulted herself into the spotlight by grabbing a staggering four medals.

Gold medalist Mariano Garcia of Spain crosses the finish line next to Silver medalist Jake Wightman of Great Britain and Bronze medalist Mark English of Ireland during the Athletics - Men's 800m Final day 11 of the European Championships Munich 2022 at Olympiapark on August 21, 2022 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

After dramatically sprinting to 10,000m Commonwealth gold at the Alexander Stadium – following in the footsteps of her mum Liz, who did the same in 1986 and 1990 – and claiming 5000m silver, McColgan ran a bold, gutsy race to seal another silver medal in the 10,000m on the opening night of athletics in Munich.

The Dundee star admitted that left her with little in the tank but just 72 hours later, she delivered once again to bag a brave bronze in the 5000m and cap a sensational sporting summer.

Tom Pidcock – Mountain bike gold

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tom Pidcock made history in Tokyo last summer by becoming the first British cyclist to win an Olympic medal on a mountain bike.

And he’s continued to blaze a trail in 2022 after adding European gold to his ever-expanding list of honours across cycling’s mountain bike, road and cyclo-cross events.

Versatile Pidcock, 23, was crowned cyclo-cross world champion in Arkansas in January before going on to claim a stunning Stage 12 victory at the Tour de France.

He then went back to his mountain bike roots in Germany to recover from an early crash and deliver a superb, front-running ride to grab European gold in splendid isolation.

Pidcock travels to the World Mountain Bike Championships this week and with the road event still to come in September, don’t bet against him completing a remarkable hat-trick.

Laura Muir – 1500m gold

Laura Muir’s European Championship love affair continued as the Scot pulled off a lightning turn of pace to retain the title won in Berlin four years ago.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Olympic silver medallist, who won world 1500m bronze in Eugene last month before finally banishing her Commonwealth demons with 1500m gold and 800m bronze in Birmingham, scooped yet more silverware in a race she described as the hardest she’d ever run.

After surviving being ‘clipped’ in a scrappy semi-final, Muir left herself with work to do in the final before slamming the accelerator at the pivotal moment to reel in the field and saunter to another memorable medal in Germany.

Joe Fraser – All-around, team and parallel bars golds

Joe Fraser should not even be competing this summer, let alone racking up gold medal after gold medal at two international championships.

The Birmingham gymnast, 23, ruptured his appendix and fractured his foot in the month before the Commonwealth Games to leave his hopes of sparkling in front a home crowd hanging in the balance.

But he showed a remarkable degree of resilience to recover, winning three golds in Birmingham before going on to make more history in Munich this week.

Fraser became the first British male to win an all-around European title, before leading his band of ‘brothers’ to team glory on Saturday and gobbling up another gold on the parallel bars on Sunday.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Jake Wightman – 800m silver

Jake Wightman’s whirlwind season finally came to an end with a battling silver medal in the 800m.

The Scot scampered to a stunning 1500m world title in Oregon last month ahead of red-hot rival Jakob Ingebrigtsen before being brought back down to earth with a bump with bronze at the Commonwealth Games.

Wightman admits the setback took its emotional toll and with a third major championships in five weeks looming, opted to run over a shortened distance in Germany to showcase his versatility and take the pressure off.

That decision was vindicated as Wightman sealed an impressive silver – missing out on gold by just six hundredths of a second – on the final night of action in Munich.

Rowing – Britain top the medal table after super Saturday

British Rowing endured a torrid time in Tokyo as a tally of one silver and a bronze marked their worst medal return for almost half a century.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That triggered a major inquest and widespread internal change and 12 months on, it looks as though the choppy waters have finally been navigated and Britain’s rowers are back on track.

They soared to a super Saturday on the German water as four golds, two silvers and one bronze – including women’s four gold for Glasgow’s Rowan McKellar – propelled them to the top of the medal table.

And after McKellar helped the women’s eight also clinch silver 24 hours later, Britain ended the championships with a haul of ten medals to go some way towards writing the wrongs of last year’s Japanese horror-show.

Athletics – Gina Luckenkemper, Konstanze Klosterhalfen and Julian Weber help fire Germany to the top the medal table

It was inevitable these multi-sport European Championships would include a generous dose of German brilliance at Munich’s iconic Olympic Stadium.

And the hosts’ track and field stars duly delivered to prompt wild scenes in the stands and help fire them to the top of the overall medal table.

First, sprint star Gina Luckenkemper scorched to an unforgettable 100m gold in a race where defending champion Dina Asher-Smith pulled up with cramp and British teammate Daryll Neita – also suffering with cramp – earned bronze.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Next, Konstanze Klosterhalfen sent the 50,000-strong crowd into raptures by waltzing to 5000m glory ahead of 10,000m champion Yasemin Can and Scottish star McColgan.

And on a crazy, intoxicating final night, Luckenkemper captured the hearts of the nation once again by following up Julian Weber’s joyous javelin gold to lead Germany’s sprinters to 4x100m relay victory and battle past Britain at the top of the overall medal table.

The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, took place between 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the German city. Daily live coverage was across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website.