Greece’s Golden Girl, world pole vault champion Aikaterini Stefanidi was named 2017 European Athletes of the Year at the Golden Tracks award ceremony in Vilnius, Lithuania on Saturday evening. Stefanidi is the first Greek athlete to lift the accolade.
Stefanidi in Rio
Reigning European and Olympic champion Stefanidi, 27, asserted herself as the dominant force in pole vaulting again by winning gold at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March and then becoming world champion in London.
What an unbelievable honor to be named European Female Athlete of the Year! Thank you… https://t.co/vTImrowAwq
— Katerina Stefanidi (@KatStefanidi) October 14, 2017
Stefanidi cleared 4.85m to claim victory by 10 centimetres in Belgrade before setting a Greek record and world-lead of 4.91m to claim the world title in London by 16 centimetres. She was unbeaten outdoors in 2017 and ended the summer by winning the IAAF Diamond League title in Brussels.
Stefanidi was presented with the trophy by President Hansen. She finished ahead of the shortlisted world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene from Russia, world heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam from Belgium and world hammer champion Anita Wlodarczyk from Poland.
Very honoured and proud to sit next to the women European Athlete of the year 2017 Aikaterini Stefanidi: what a perfect year for her! pic.twitter.com/OFudqOzMa4
— Christian Milz (@MilzChristian) October 14, 2017
In the Rising Stars awards category was also another Greek, European U20 long jump champion Miltiadis Tentoglou.