Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen is also Europe's "Athlete of the Year."
PHOTO: CORNELIUS POPPE / SCANPIX
The 26-year-old Thorkildsen from Kristiansand won the award, backed by Waterford Crystal, from the European Athletics Federation. The award comes less than two months after he won this year's OIympic gold medal in the javelin event, just like he had at the Olympics in Athens four years earlier.
The federation cited Thorkildsen's "well-developed reputation for finding his form on the big occasion," noting that in Beijing, he "sent the spear out to a new Olympic record of 90.57 meters." That was four meters better than his nearest rival.
European Athletics also noted that Thorkildsen went on to cement his Olympic record just days later, when he threw the javelin 90.28 meters at a Golden League competition in Zurich.
"No other thrower in the world this year has gone over the 90-meter barrier," the federation noted.
Thorkildsen, who called the award "a great honor," will be presented with it at the European Athletics Awards Dinner in Amsterdam on October 18.