2022 European Championships: Duplantis, Mayer, Mihambo, Garnbret… Who will be the stars to follow or discover?

Fifty years after the 1972 Olympics, Munich is back on the scene. For the second edition of these European Sports Championships (from August 11 to 21), after the one organized jointly by Glasgow and Berlin in 2018, the Old Continent did not shun the event. And despite the proximity of many international competitions such as the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, it has delegated some of its most illustrious representatives. Overview of those who can be the stars of these championships.

Athletics/pole vaulting: Armand Duplantis

Since the retirement of Usain Bolt, the Swede is the new locomotive of athletics. A locomotive that erases world records with a regularity and punctuality that would make any user of a certain French railway company green with envy. All with an apparent ease that says a lot about his room for maneuver and an almost unmovable smile on his youthful face. At 22, the Scandinavian soars to heights where he is the only one who can breathe. Under him, the competition suffocates, as was again the case at the Worlds in Eugene where Duplantis climbed to 6.21m, a new world record. In Munich, “Mondo” could still cross limits that seem to defy the law of gravity.

Athletics/Decathlon: Kevin Mayer

You recover faster after a win. Kevin Mayer, who had initially planned to skip these European championships, finally changed his mind. Galvanized by his world title in Oregon, the French will still be the man to beat, and rather ten times than once. “It turns out that, from the second day after my title, the legs were pretty good”declared the Habs at a press conference. “I have my chance to be European champion, I take it”. Without the presence of his most dangerous rival, the Canadian Damian Warner, the French gladiator will be the favorite to triumph in the Munich arena.

Athletics/Long jump: Malaika Mihambo

His name rarely crosses the borders of Germany. On the other hand, it crosses impressive distances on the jumpers. Olympic champion in Tokyo, she is also reigning European champion and double world champion in Doha and Eugene. Suffice to say that Malaika Mihambo flies over her discipline and that, carried by her public, the German should still take off very far in Munich. From there to imagine improving his personal best, located at 7.30m? The one who was voted sportswoman of the year from 2019 to 2021 in her country deserves it. So that his name goes beyond, finally, the spheres of the take-off board.

Malaika Mihambo was scared but she retains her world title well.  After two first biting tries, the German assured on her third attempt.  The reigning Olympic long jump champion jumped 7 meters and 12 centimeters on her last attempt to win the contest.  She is ahead of Nigerian Ese Brume and Brazilian Leticia Oro Melo.

Track Cycling: Laura Kenny

It’s been 13 years that she turns around a ring and she still does not get tired of it. Laura Kenny, the most successful British athlete in the history of the Olympic Games (five gold medals), still has the flame. At 30, the Englishwoman still has some under the pedal, despite having surgery at the start of the year, as a result of an ectopic pregnancy. Married to multi-medal winner Jason Kenny, she and her husband have been named Commander of the Order of the British Empire, one of the country’s highest honours. Radiant at the recent Commonwealth Games, the one who also has seven world titles will still be the main force of attraction in the Munich centrifuge.

Cycling/MTB: Pauline Ferrand-Prévot

Is the Swiss army knife of tricolor women’s cycling sharpened again? After a disappointing 10th place at the Tokyo Games, the Frenchwoman says she has reinvented herself, particularly in her training methods, to approach, at 30, this second part of her career with the same ambition and, she hopes , the same successes. Above all, she hopes to strike gold again. In 2015, she achieved the historic feat of becoming the first athlete, male and female, to hold three world titles in road, cyclo-cross and cross-country mountain biking. Seven years later, “PFP” is still not satisfied.

Triathlon: Dorian Coninx

Dorian Coninx, the X factor. At 28, the French triathlete will be the natural leader of the French mixed relay, which is a big favorite for the gold medal. With him, Cassandre Beaugrand and Leonie Periault won the bronze medal at the last Olympic Games in Tokyo. Faced with less competition, they will therefore not have to miss each other and will count on Coninx, European and world junior champion in 2013, to win an event where the four torchbearers will have to take turns swallowing 300 m of swimming, 6.8 km of cycling and 2 km of running.

Climbing: Janja Garnbret

She is not as well known as the basketball player Luka Doncic or the cyclist Tadej Pogacar but, in her specialty, Janja Garnbret is still the perfect illustration that a small country like Slovenia can produce sports geniuses. On a climbing wall, the 23-year-old flies where others cling desperately. Aerial, it does not seem to be subject to the laws of gravity in bouldering or difficulty events, its two favorite areas.

However, the phenomenon was announced: at 16, for her first participation in a World Cup event, she was ranked second! The rest was sewn with gold thread: six times world champion, Garnbret became, during the Tokyo Olympics where climbing appeared for the first time on the program, the first Olympic champion in history. If the hardest thing is not to reach the top but to stay there, we do not see who could dislodge it.

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2022 European Championships: Duplantis, Mayer, Mihambo, Garnbret… Who will be the stars to follow or discover?

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