Memorable Moments: These athletes said goodbye

Published on 7 September 2022  

With the conclusion of the European Championships Munich 2022, the final curtain fell on many an illustrious career. It was time to say goodbye in Munich, sometimes more, sometimes less quietly.

For three German greats, the home European Championships proved to be the perfect stage for their farewell to professional sport: Decathlete Artur Abele, gymnast Kim Bui and cyclist Lisa Brennauer offered the audience memorable and emotional final performances.   

DECATHLON KING HANDS OVER CROWN

Arthur Abele's career was hindered by many injuries. But through it all there were sweet moments to celebrate. At the first edition of the 2018 European Championships, the decathlete crowned himself king of track and field in Berlin and thus entered Munich as the defending champion.   

As bittersweet as his athletics life was, his last competition turned out to be just as much of a rollercoaster ride. Abele truly went through all available emotions in Olympiastadion. The second decathlon day started with a moment of shock for the 36-year-old. A false start over the 110m hurdles, followed by a red card and a disqualification. After which the German team lodged a protest.

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Regardless of the outcome, Abele moved on to the next discipline, the discus throw, wanting to finish his last ever decathlon. During the competition, the jury's decision followed, and it was in his favour. And so, he went from the field back to the track: Abele was allowed to complete the hurdle sprint on his own while the crowd cheered him on.    

In the end, he competed all events and ended up in 15th place with a score of 7662 points. On the traditional lap of honour of all decathletes, Abele was overcome by his emotions and was completely overwhelmed when his opponents lined up in a formation in his honour. Abele ran through it amid tears and cheers - a sweet end to a long career and a worthy send-off for a former athletics king.

A GERMAN GREAT SAYS GOODBYE

A GERMAN GREAT SAYS GOODBYE

It will be an unusual sight to no longer see Kim Bui in a gymnastics leotard at a major international event. Especially since she has been a member of the national team without interruption since 1999. Many of her competitors at Munich 2022 were not even born at that time.  

Bui made her first international appearance as a junior at the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2003 - the first entry in a more than impressive portfolio. The 33-year-old looks back on participations in ten European Championships, six World Championships and three Olympic Games.   

And although she has seen and experienced a lot in her career, there was something historic to celebrate in Munich’s Olympiahalle. In the team final, Germany won bronze, the first ever European team medal for German gymnasts.

Bui was visibly lost for words by the success and the euphoria of the audience: "This is simply unbelievable. This is the best thing for me. This is so crazy, so fantastic. It's really incredible, I just can't put it into words."  

It didn't remain the only time she struggled for the right words. The Tübingen native had qualified for the apparatus final on uneven bars - her last routine as a competitive gymnast. Bui finished fifth, while another deserving German gymnast, Elisabeth Seitz, sensationally won gold.   

“It's hard to put into words how I feel now, but it was just really great to be able to experience this again today. The crowd was sensational, and it was so nice to be in such a bars final again, also together with Elisabeth Seitz. That she (Seitz) has now won gold is of course sensational and we will really celebrate tonight what we have achieved here together as a team. That's why it's very hard to describe my feelings - it's just amazing.”

TITLE HOLDER AND COLLECTOR

From little figurines to stamps, a wide variety of objects can ignite the passion for collecting. Lisa Brennauer's collection, however, is something few can match. The 34-year-old has plenty of precious metal at home, preferably from World and European Championships, and that in both road and track cycling. She completed her collection at the European Championships with medals number 26 and 27. Her illustrious career also includes three appearances at the Olympic Games, which she crowned with gold in the team pursuit in Tokyo. 

Munich 2022 offered the Kempten-born athlete a fitting farewell. She not only enjoyed the closeness to her home country and the cheers of the German fans but was also able to do one last lap in both disciplines - on the track and on the road.

At Messe München, the exceptional athlete secured silver in the single pursuit and gold in the team pursuit, together with Franziska Brauße, Lisa Klein and Mieke Kröger. After a rather disappointing 12th place in the individual time trial, it was back on the road for a final encore on the final day. The race ended with a bunch sprint. Which Brennauer eventually finished in fourth place.  

“After the finish it took me some time to realise that I finished fourth in my very last race, but nevertheless I am happy even without winning a medal,” Brennauer said. 

“The atmosphere here today and to compete once more with the team was something special. But the whole two weeks in Munich were just great. I will definitely miss the spectators. Especially when you can experience an atmosphere like this on your very last race, that is something that will stay in your memory forever.” 

Besides the memory, there was another souvenir from the Bavarian capital - a piece of the original track. The journey home and subsequently the transport was a short one, and who knows, maybe a new passion for collecting will grow out of this.

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European ChampionshipsMunich 2022