Almost 1.500 athletes from all over Europe will descend on Zurich, Switzerland for the 2014 European Athletics Championships, the single biggest event on this year's European calendar.
Letzigrund Stadium will be the venue for the biannual championship, marking the first time the event will take place in Switzerland since 1954. And following the success of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, expectations for the event organisers will be at an all-time high.
Plenty of records are expected to fall between Tuesday and Sunday, with some of the best athletes in the world already showing their form in last week's Games.
Fans who can't make it to Switzerland won't have to despair—event organisers have pulled out all stops to ensure no one will have to miss a single minute of action. European Athletics is pairing with Eurovision, who will provide seven different live feeds of the event and cover every inch of the Letzigrund Stadium.
The live stream can be accessed by visiting through Eurovision's website.
|2014 European Athletics Championships|
|Event||Women's 10.000m||Women's 100m||Women's Pole Vault||Women's 200m||Women's 800m||Women's 3000m Steeple|
|Men's Shot Put||Women's 100m Hurdles||Women's Javelin||Women's 400m||Women's 5000m||Women's High Jump|
|Men's Decathlon||Women's Long Jump||Women's Hepathlon||Women's 1500m||Women's 400m Hurdles||Women's Shot Put|
|Men's 100m||Men's 3000m Steeple||Women's Hammer Throw||Women's Discus||Womens 4x100m|
|Men's 10.000m||Men's 110m Hurdles||Women's Hepathlon||Women's Triple Jump||Women's 4x400m|
|Men's Discus||Women's 20km Walk||Men's 200m||Men's Pole Vault||Men's 1500m|
|Men's Decathlon||Men's 400m||Men's Hammer Throw||Men's 5000m|
|Men's 20km Walk||Men's 800m||Women's Marathon||Men's Long Jump|
|Men's 400m Hurdles||Men's Javelin|
|Men's High Jump||Men's 4x100m|
|Men's 50km Walk||Men's 4x400m|
The full programme for every qualifier and heat can be found on the event's website.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson's absence from the Commonwealth Games was a big blow to British Athletics, and as reported by ESPN, she will join Shara Proctor and Phillips Idowu as some of the top British athletes who won't be competing in Zurich.
The event won't be lacking for star power, however. Mo Farah may have missed out on the Commonwealth Games due to illness, but he should be the favourite to grab the double in the long-distance events once again.
An Olympic gold medalist in the 5,000 metres and 1,000 metres, it is still unclear whether the 31-year-old will actually compete in both events. While he is registered to run in both, the illness that ended his adventure in Glasgow prematurely could have altered those plans.
The British athlete appears to be in fine form, however:
No single athlete has dominated his sport on this level as much as France's Renaud Lavillenie, who will be looking for a third consecutive title in the pole vaulting discipline.
Lavillenie is yet to clear six metres this season, but he told European Athletics he's not worried about that, as he explained the significance of the European Championships:
For me the Europeans are really important because I am on a good winning streak and if I win in Zurich it will be 20 in a row. That’s a personal record for me, and it would be the perfect place to do it. The Europeans is a great competition so I’m really excited to be there.
[On six metres] Since Moscow I had a very good indoor season so I am not worried about that now. I am just happy to be jumping there and ready for the competition. I look forward to the championships at Letzigrund Stadium. Zurich is an athletics city, famous for providing athletes with the best possible conditions, and also for celebrating our sport in a very special way.
The 100 metres event always speaks to the imagination of fans, and this year won't be any different. Jimmy Vicaut will start the heats as the favourite, but he'll face stiff competition from a host of challengers, including Christophe Lemaitre, Churandy Martina, James Dasaolu, Chijindu Ujah, Jaysuma Saidy Ndure and Julian Reus.
European sprinting has never been stronger than it is in 2014, and the young Vicaut is a big reason why. The Frenchman ran 9.95 back in May and comes into the tournament under tremendous pressure. As shared by teammate Kevin Menaldo, the 22-year-old seems to be dealing with that pressure just fine, however:
People hoping to see records fall should keep a close eye on Bohdan Bondarenko, who will be among a group of high-jumpers gunning for the 2.45-metres mark.
The world champion and European record holder (2.42 metres, a record he shares with Patrik Sjoberg and Ivan Ukhov) is in the form of his life, and pushed by a number of challengers, he told European Athletics conditions could be perfect for someone to cross the magic mark:
"I think it is best when many people are going for the record. It is a good show for the people, and a good experience for the sport.”
The European Athletics Championships will start with three finals on Tuesday before the action truly heats up on Wednesday with finals in the 100 metres.
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