Vlasic 2010 women’s Euro athlete

Blanka Vlasic of Croatia has been voted the 2010 winner of the women’s European Athlete of the Year Award presented by MONDO.

Not since Sonia O’Sullivan in 1995 has an Irish athlete won the women’s EUROPEAN ATHLETE OF THE YEAR award and this year sees not one in the top 20 despite Derval O’Rourkes excellent performances.

Vlasic has become only the third women to win the top European honour for a second time. Following in the footsteps of the other two-time winners Yelena Isinbayeva and Carolina Kluft, the Croatian high jumper was voted as Europe’s top female athlete after a two year hiatus from the top spot.

The story behind her success in the polls is that this summer Vlasic filled one of the few remaining gaps in her trophy cabinet when she won at the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona.

Her triumph in Barcelona followed on from an unbeaten indoor season during which she won at the World Indoor Championships in Doha in Marchand also improved her indoor best, which is inevitably a Croatian record, to 2.06m. The height was not been bettered by anyone in the world in 2010.

Outdoors, she won 12 out of her 14 competitions including all seven of the IAAF Diamond League meetings at which her event was contested and at the IAAF Continental Cup, which was held in her home city of Split. She was clearly in a class of her own when I recently watched her take the High Jump title at the Diamond League event at Crystal Palace.

Blanka Vlašić was born on 8 November 1983 in Split – her mother Venera was a seasoned performer in basketball and in cross country skiing whileher Dad , Joško Vlašić, was an international athlete who broke the Croatian record in the Decathlon . It was he who brought her to the track while he practised and she dreamed of becoming a professional sprinter . As she grew up she tried a number of events but the very tall Miss Vlasic found that the high jump suited her best.

She will be presented with her award at the European Athletics Awards Night presented by MONDO on Saturday 16 October in Belgrade, Serbia. French sprinter Christophe Lemaitre, named as the men’s winner of the European Athlete of the Year award earlier this week, will also be recognised along with European Athletics Rising Star of the Year winners Teddy Tamgho and Sandra Perkovic.

Fans, media and European Athletics Member Federations were invited to vote for the European Athlete of the Year on the European Athletics website. Along with the votes from a panel of experts, each group of voters’ results count for one quarter of the athlete’s final score.

The shortlist for the award was compiled by selecting the top European athlete in each event, based largely on performances at the European Athletics Championships, World Indoor Championships, European Athletics events and the series of Diamond League and European Athletics meetings. Only in very exceptional cases were two athletes from one event nominated.

No athlete who has previously served a two-year doping ban can be nominated for European Athlete of the Year.

Women’s European Athlete of the Year presented by MONDO final rankings:
1. Blanka Vlasic (CRO)
2. Jessica Ennis (GBR)
3. Verena Sailer (GER)
4. Anita Wlodarczyk (POL)
5. Myriam Soumare (FRA)
6. Nevin Yanit (TUR)
7. Tatyana Firova (RUS)
8. Natalya Antyukh (RUS)
9. Mariya Savinova (RUS)
10. Nadzeya Ostapchuk (BLR)
11. Nuria Fernandez (ESP)
12. Ineta Radevica (LAT)
13. Yuliya Zarudneva (RUS)
14. Alemitu Bekele (TUR)
15. Olga Kaniskina (RUS)
16. Liliya Shobukhova (RUS)
17. Svetlana Feofanova (RUS)
18. Sandra Perkovic (CRO)
19. Hayley Yelling (GBR)

European Athlete of the Year previous winners
1993 Sally Gunnell GBR
1994 Irina Privalova RUS
1995 Sonia O’Sullivan IRL
1996 Svetlana Masterkova RUS
1997 Astrid Kumbernuss GER
1998 Christine Arron FRA
1999 Gabriela Szabo ROU
2000 Trine Hattestad NOR
2001 Stephanie Graf AUT
2002 Süreyya Ayhan TUR
2003 Carolina Klüft SWE
2004 Kelly Holmes GBR
2005 Yelena Isinbayeva RUS
2006 Carolina Klüft SWE
2007 Blanka Vlasic CRO
2008 Yelena Isinbayeva RUS
2009 Marta Dominguez ESP

2010 season: Blanka Vlasic
2.01i 1 Třinec 26 Jan
2.06i NR PB 1 Arnstadt 6 Feb
2.01i 1 GE Galan Stockholm 10 Feb
2.03i 1 Split 21 Feb
2.04i 1 Europa SC Banská Bystrica 4 Mar
2.00i 1 WC Doha 13 Mar
1.98 1Diamond League Doha 14 May
1.92 3 GSpike Ostrava 27 May
2.01 1 Diamond League Oslo 4 Jun
2.03 1 Diamond League Roma 10 Jun
1.94 1 ETCH-2 Beograd 20 Jun
2.00 2 Barcelona 9 Jul
2.02 1 Diamond League Saint-Denis 16 Jul
2.03 1 ECH Barcelona 1 Aug
2.02 1 Diamond League Stockholm 6 Aug
2.01 1 Aviva London 13 Aug
2.00 1 Diamond League Bruxelles 27 Aug
2.02 1 Hanžeković Zagreb 1 Sep
2.05 SB 1 Continental Cup Split 5 Sep
1.97 1 Super Kawasaki 19 Sep


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