She doesn’t feel the pain of the fall. The euphoria is too great, the happiness too incredible, the surprise too immense. Gina Lückenkemper is European champion over 100 meters.
Four years after her silver medal in Berlin on Tuesday evening, the 25-year-old is the fastest track and field athlete in Munich’s Olympic Stadium in 10.99 seconds after the photo finish. The Swiss indoor world champion Mujinga Kambundji also finished second with 10.99 seconds. Lückenkemper came up on the last few meters – and fell after the finish line. She stayed straight to the ground, kneeling down, screaming out her emotions and burying her face in her hands. She finally ran the lap of honor with a bandage around her knee – and a big grin.
“Today the stadium is absolutely amazing. I’m so incredibly grateful to you,” said Lückenkemper into the stadium microphone shortly afterwards. “I don’t feel anything right now, I have so much adrenaline.”
Third place went to Neita Daryll from Britain, who was only a hundredth of a second slower. The Wattenscheiderin Tatjana Pinto and Rebekka Haase from Sprintteam Wetzlar did not make it into the final. In the relay over 4×100 meters, the three German track and field athletes, together with Alexandra Burghardt, are among the favorites after winning bronze at the end of the European Championships on Sunday.
When Lückenkemper was still rushing to win, Niklas Kaul was able to take a deep breath a few times. Only a few minutes earlier he had completely exhausted himself, but was happily celebrating his victory lap after a grandiose final sprint to gold in the decathlon. Only with an extremely strong final 1500 meter race did the 24-year-old from Mainz with 8545 points oust the Swiss Simon Ehammer (8468) from first place.
Shortly thereafter, Kristin Pudenz, who came second at the Olympics, was happy about silver at the European Championships in discus and thus returned the favor for her disappointing performance at the World Championships a month ago. With a personal best of 67.87 meters, the Potsdam native was only eight centimeters short of the Croatian Sandra Perkovic, who won her sixth European Championship title. Claudine Vita secured bronze for the German team with 65.20 meters.
After the 2019 World Cup coup, Kaul celebrated the second major triumph of his career. “It’s been three years since the world title, and not much has happened in between. My ears almost blew off with the 1500, it was amazing,” said Kaul into the stadium microphone after the outstanding finish.
Before the last two disciplines he was still in seventh place, but still managed the surprising turnaround with 76.05 meters in the javelin throw and a strong 1500 meter dash in a personal best time of 4:10.04 minutes. “It’s the discipline in which I’m the best,” Kaul said before the run. The former World Cup third Kai Kazmirek (LG Rhein-Neuwied) came in eighth with 8151 points.
With his European title win, Kaul succeeded Arthur Abele, who won in Berlin four years ago and was celebrated like a hero in the last decathlon of his career. The 36-year-old from Ulm was disqualified in the hurdle sprint because of an alleged false start, but was allowed to continue fighting after a successful protest. He did not get past 15th and last place. “What he went through nervously is enough for a whole career,” said ex-decathlete and ARD expert Frank Busemann. Abele agreed: “I was nervous.”