European Championships: Footage of Sally Gunnell’s gold is still incredible

Sally Gunnell

Track and field legend Sally Gunnell has posted a brilliant throwback to her historic triumph at the 1994 European Championships.

Almost 20 years ago, the British trailblazer wrote her name in the history books by becoming her nation’s first female athlete to have won all four major tournament titles.

Gunnell achieved this during a 24-month period, claiming gold at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championships and European Championships.

During this golden era, the Briton won every international event she competed in and held the ‘big four’ titles concurrently.

As well as this, Gunnell won gold at the Goodwill Games, IAAF World Cup and the European Cup.

To celebrate the 2022 European Championships, the 56-year-old has treated the sporting world to a recap of the moment she made history in Helsinki.

Gunnell ran a perfect race in the 400m hurdles final, blowing away the opposition and finishing with a comfortable time of 53.33.

“With the European Championships on I thought this would be a great memory to share!” she captioned her Twitter post. 

“After achieving my Olympic, World [and] Commonwealth titles, my goal, inspired by Daley Thompson, was to get all four major titles.”

And she went on to do just that.

Sally Gunnell’s legacy

Gunnell remains the only British woman in history to hold the Olympic, World, European, and Commonwealth titles.

She also became the first female 400m hurdler to win gold at the Olympic Games and World Championships, as well as break the world record. The USA’s Dalilah Muhammad is the only woman to match this achievement.

Gunnell was the world’s number one women’s 400m hurdler from 1991 to 1994 — a three-year period of utter dominance from the Brit.

She won a mammoth 24 medals across all international tournaments during her track and field career, with 16 of them being gold.

12 AUG 1994: SALLY GUNNELL OF GREAT BRITAIN CELEBRATES HER WIN IN THE WOMENS 400 METRES HURDLES AT THE 1994 EUROPEAN ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS IN HELSINKI. Mandatory Credit: Mike Hewitt/ALLSPORT

Her first title came at the 1986 Commonwealth Games, where she won the 100m hurdles event. Gunnell then won and defended the 400m hurdle and 4x400m relay titles with Great Britain at the 1990 and 1994 Games.

By 1993, she had become the Olympic, Commonwealth and World champion, with just the historic European gold left to claim.

Gunnell’s former world record of 52.74 seconds remained in the top ten tally up until last year, and it is still the current all-time British record.

Gunnell called time on her athletics career in 1997 after a series of injuries hampered her performances on the track.

She picked up an achilles injury during the World Championships, which forced her to pull out of the semi-final. She announced her retirement shortly after, leaving a magnificent legacy behind.

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