This piece, written by Stuart Weir, is on the 2022 European Athletics Female Athlete of the Year, Femke Bol, who won gold in the 400m hurdles, 400m, and 4x400m at #Munich2022.
No one could question Femke Bol’s right to be European female athlete of the year. Her only outdoor defeat of the year was when taking silver behind Sydney Mclaughlin at the Oregon World Championship.
In her specialist event of the 400m hurdles, she won the Diamond League races in Rome, Oslo, Stockholm, and Lausanne, as well as the Diamond League final in Zurich.
In the European championships in Munich, Bol entered the 400 flat and the 400 hurdles – winning both. She also helped the Netherlands win the women’s 4 by 400 in the championships. Incidentally, the only other person to win three gold medals at a European Athletics Championships was her compatriot Fanny Blankers-Koen. And on that subject, Femke also won the 400 hurdles at the FBK in a Hengelo.
In Oregon, she helped her country take silver in the mixed relay. In the women’s relay semi-final, the team dropped the baton, picked it up, and kept running. Bol made up so much ground on the final leg that the Netherlands of finished incredibly in a qualifying position – only to be disqualified!
Then there were the two silver medals at the World indoors.
She summed up her season: “It is hard to evaluate the season because last year I called 2021 my dream season. I think I am still in the clouds like I am dreaming. I am becoming older and more professional – it has been amazing, and I have really challenged myself to do the double at the Europeans with the 400 flat and the hurdles – I think I am pushing my boundaries. I was asked five years ago about my ambitions, and I said that I hope I will be running 54 seconds and go into the World finals and look where I am now. I am not really good with this kind of question, but I hope that in the future, I am still running in finals on the biggest world stages, fighting for the medals. That is what my dream is, to be able to do it consistently and become a great athlete. I hope one day I can win at the world level, but for now, I am happy with what I am doing. Of course, I want to win, but if you are in a race with the best ones, this pushes you to become even better. You just need to try even harder, challenge yourself and relish every opportunity. I will keep trying and improving myself and see how fast I can get. Summing up the 2022 season in one word – incredible!”
To add I personal note, I saw her run 18 times this year. I want to acknowledge that she is one of the loveliest people on the circuit, always willing to chat after races.