6/7/2024 Update from the European Championships

Women’s Shot Qualification

Ok, I missed it. My daughter flew in this morning, and I wasn’t going to ask her to figure out how to get from the airport to the hotel her first time in Rome. So the ladies threw the shot while I was on the train.

Sweden’s Fanny Roos was the leading qualifier, though, with a toss of 18.70m. Which was awesome to see. Fanny had a breakout year in 2021 when she took European Indoor silver and finished seventh at the Olympics. She made the Worlds final in 2022 and took another European Indoor medal in 2023, but has struggled since the retirement of her longtime coach, Vésteinn Hafsteinsson, seemed to set her adrift, though she landed with Staffan Jönsson, who had done a remarkable job rejuvenating the career of Daniel Ståhl.

It can be a funny thing switching coaches. Of Vésteinn’s old group, Fanny and Simon Pettersson have struggled—Simon did not advance in the men’s disc today—while Daniel has thrived and shot putter Marcus Thomsen is once again thriving after a difficult 2023 campaign.

Anyway, it would be awesome to see Fanny announce her return to form by snagging her first outdoor European Champs medal.

Look to Jessica Schilder and Yemisi Ogunleye, who both went one-and-done in qualification—a wise move since the final is tonight—to challenge for podium spots.

Men’s Disc Qualification

I missed the A group, but is anyone surprised that Mykolas Alekna went 67.50m on his first throw? It was 9:30 in the morning, hotter than hell in a mostly empty stadium, but…who cares? Look for him to go 70m tonight.

Kristjan did not reach the auto mark but felt comfortable enough with his 65.64m opener that he passed his second and third attempts.

At his size, Daniel is probably the last guy who wanted to be out there throwing in the heat with the final just a few hours away—that’s right, the men’s disc final is also tonight—and it showed, He went 69.01m, 63.79m, foul, then rolled through the mixed zone looking like an extremely grouchy bulldozer.

Vikings are tough you-know-whaters, though, so don’t be surprised to see him on the medal stand tonight.

The highlight for me this morning was seeing Mika Sosna make the final in his first ever senior Championships. I had to haul some ass to get there on my time—a sight which some innocent pedestrians I rumbled past might never be able to unsee. But it was worth it, as he sneaked in at twelfth. And Mika is no shrinking violet. He came up big at Throw Town in April when surrounded by some of the world’s best, so look for him to make the top 8 tonight.

Women’s Disc Qualification

Sandra is going for her 7th European title, and God help anyone who gets in her way. Full disclosure, she looked off balance during warmups and on her first attempt, and I was actually wondering if her reign might end not with a bang but with a really crappy performance in qualification. What a foolish man I am. She was still off balance in round two but hit 65.62m to lead all qualifiers.

When Marike Steinacker stepped in for her third throw, she was the only German discus thrower of either gender who had not secured a place in the final. No pressure there. She came through with a toss of 63.30m, and look for her to contend with Sandra, Shanice Craft—winner of three previous Euro bronzes—and Jorinde Van Klinken—the hardest working woman in show business (Instead of going home and resting between this morning’s shot qualification and tonight’s final, made time in her busy schedule to toss an SB of 65.12m in Group A) to join Sandra on the podium.

Dan McQuaid