Great Britain’s Mo Farah becomes just the second athlete to be named as the European Athlete of the Year for a second consecutive year – following on from Swedish triple jumper Christian Olsson in 2003 and 2004 – after his double success over 5000m and 10,000m at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Farah, 29, defended his European 5000m title in Helsinki to become the first man to win consecutive gold medals over the distance at the European Athletics Championships.
Six weeks later, he captivated the 80,000 capacity crowd in the Olympic Stadium with two wins executed in spectacular fashion with blistering finishes over the last lap to become the first Briton to win Olympic titles in long distance running events.
He became the seventh man, and fifth European, to do the distance double in the history of the Olympics but the first to achieve such a feat in front of a home audience.
Farah opened his account with a tactically near-perfect 10,000m to cross the line in 27: 30.42. Despite subsequent European and world titles that win finally extinguished the anguish that Farah had felt four years ago in Beijing, when he failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games 5000m final.
A week later, on the final night of athletics in the Olympic Stadium, he added the 5000m title to his ever-growing list of honours.
He became the first man to simultaneously hold the triumvirate of European, world and Olympic titles over the distance.
However, for the first few months of the 2012, such an emotional and climactic end to the year didn’t seem possible.
He won only one of his four indoor competitions and, although he did set a European indoor two miles best, he also finished out of the medals in fourth place over 3000m at the World Indoor Championships.
Once the outdoor season started though, Farah showed his true colours.
He won over 5000m at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene in 12:56.98 in early June, the best time by a European runner this year, and never looked back thereafter.
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 included stars from this year’s Olympic Games in London, Helsinki 2012 European Athletics Championships, Istanbul 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships, and other young athletes who performed exceptionally well this year.
No athlete who has previously served a two-year doping ban can be nominated for the European Athlete of the Year award.
Men’s 2012 European Athlete of the Year final rankings:
1. Mo Farah (GBR)
2. Renaud Lavillenie (FRA)
3. Christophe Lemaitre (FRA)
4. Ivan Ukhov (RUS)
5. Robert Harting (GER)
6. Tomasz Majewski (POL)
7. Churandy Martina (NED)
8. Krisztian Pars (HUN)
9. Kevin Borlee (BEL)
10. Greg Rutherford (GBR)
11. Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad (FRA)
12. Vitezslav Vesely (CZE)
13. Fabrizio Donato (ITA)
14. Sergei Kirdyapkin (RUS)
15. Robbie Grabarz (GBR)
European Athlete of the Year previous winners
1993 Linford Christie (GBR)
1994 Colin Jackson (GBR)
1995 Jonathan Edwards (GBR)
1996 Jan Zelezny (CZE)
1997 Wilson Kipketer (DEN)
1998 Jonathan Edwards (GBR)
1999 Tomás Dvorak (CZE)
2000 Jan Zelezny (CZE)
2001 André Bucher (SUI)
2002 Dwain Chambers (GBR)
2003 Christian Olsson (SWE)
2004 Christian Olsson (SWE)
2005 Virgilijus Alekna (LTU)
2006 Francis Obikwelu (POR)
2007 Tero Pitkämäki (FIN)
2008 Andreas Thorkildsen (NOR)
2009 Phillips Idowu (GBR)
2010 Christophe Lemaitre (FRA)
Mo Farah: 2012 record:
Eagle Rock CA
Eagle Rock CA
Personal bests: Mo Farah
3000m: 7:34.47 NR 1 Aviva Birmingham 21 Feb 2009
5000m: 13:10.60 AR 1 Aviva Birmingham 19 Feb 2011
3000m: 7:38.15 3 Zagreb 2006 Zagreb 31 Aug 2006
5000m: 12:53.11 NR 1 Herc Monaco 22 Jul 2011
10000m: 26:46.57 AR 1 DL Eugene OR 3 Jun 2011