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Victoria Hudson won her third European Championship gold in history

Victoria Hudson won her third European Championship gold in history

Victoria Hudson traveled to the European Athletics Championships as Europe's top athlete this year and will once again leave Rome as European champion. The 28-year-old was victorious on Tuesday in the javelin with a distance of 64.62 metres, it was Austria's second medal at these continental championships after Lukas Weidinger's silver in the discus and ÖLV's 13th place overall. The silver went to Serbian Adriana Villagos (64.42), and the bronze went to Norwegian Marie-Therese Obst (63.50).

At an unusually late hour for her, who goes to bed early, Hudson promised her family, grandparents and English friends that she would be “fully present mentally and physically.” After Hudson only bettered her own Austrian record to 66.06m on May 22, the minimum goal of improving on her 10th-place finish from the 2022 European Championships in Munich seemed an understatement. However, Hudson has never before been in a position where he has to be the front-runner.

The first attempt was worth its weight in gold

She mastered the test brilliantly, winning ÖLV's first gold at the European Championships since Ilona Gusenbauer in the high jump in Helsinki in 1971, and her third overall. While Hudson held strong in qualifying in fifth place with 60.15 metres, in the final she threw a 600g javelin on her first attempt to 64.62 metres, which was out of reach for others that evening.
This clearly shocked her rivals, who came within just twenty centimeters of Hudson in Tours and Villagos on the third attempt. Hudson followed up with strong streaks of 60.35, one foul attempt, 61.75 and 62.74. On the final throw she was already confirmed to have won the European Championship with another 59.55 metres.

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Hudson had her strongest season last year when she won bronze at the European Games in Chorzow (Poland) and followed that up with a fifth-place finish at the World Championships in Budapest. This was preceded by a change of coach Gregor Hogler at the beginning of 2023, who had already looked after Hudson when he was young. Högler himself was an Olympic participant in Sydney in 2000 and with a distance of 84.03 meters (1999) remains the national javelin throw record holder. He masters the balancing act as coach of Weißhaidinger and Hudson.

Enfant Terrible won the high jump Gianmarco Tamperi (ITA/2.37m) in his first competition of the season.