Gianmarco Tamberi claims another European high jump title

ROME -- Gianmarco Tamberi bowed to Italy's president before and during the competition. Then came an embrace in the stands with his country's leader when the charismatic Olympic high jump champion clinched another European title and sealed his status as a favorite to defend gold at the Paris Games.

Tamberi, styled in his preferred half-shaved beard, had already won the competition before he cleared a championship-record 2.37 meters on his first attempt to add more luster to his third title at the European athletics championships Tuesday.

"I knew I was in a superb shape and I proved it," Tamberi said. "I pretended to be injured and hid springs in my shoes. I think some people fell for it. I did great things. Now it's time for the Olympics."

Two Ukrainians, Vladyslav Lavskyy (2.29) and Oleh Doroshchuk (2.26), took silver and bronze, respectively.

Up next for Tamberi, who shared gold with his good friend Mutaz Barshim at the Tokyo Games, is another meeting Thursday with Italy President Sergio Mattarella to officially be handed the country's flag that he and fencer Arianna Errigo will carry at the Paris opening ceremony July 26.

Tamberi is also the captain of Italy's rapidly improving athletics team, which is leading the medals table at the Euros with a national record 10 golds and 20 medals overall.

Karsten Warholm of Norway and Femke Bol of the Netherlands won the men's and women's 400 hurdles, respectively, by large margins -- with both setting championship records.

Warholm clocked 46.98 -- more than a second off his world record of 45.94 set at the Tokyo Olympics.

Bol won in 52.49 to shave 0.18 off her championship record from two years ago and reclaim the season lead from American standout Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, who ran 52.70 on May 31.

Bol finished nearly two seconds ahead of silver medalist Louise Maraval of France, while her Dutch teammate Cathelijn Peeters took bronze.

So how does Bol keep going when she's so far ahead of the rest of the field?

"I visualize I'm running toward someone. It always helps me a lot," she said. "But when you have an atmosphere like this, it also helps a lot. You hear the crowd and you just want to do well for them. ... They were already applauding for Gianmarco. It was something crazy."

Warholm established a big lead but then silver medalist Alessandro Sibilio made up some ground during the final meters.

"I was testing the pace a little bit in the beginning, going out super hard and then coming up on the home stretch, testing a little bit the same stride pattern as yesterday," Warholm said. "It was a little bit of a stutter step there. But I felt strong coming off hurdle 10 and I was in control.

"For Paris there will be some more (speed). ... This is a good step on the road. But this is more to build confidence, and of course to get the gold medal. But in Paris everything will be as sharp as possible."

There was also a championship record in the triple jump, when Jordan Diaz of Spain leaped 18.18 to improve on Jonathan Edwards' mark of 17.99 from more than a quarter-century ago.

Silver medalist Pedro Pichardo of Portugal, the Cuban-born Olympic champion, also beat Edwards' mark with 18.04, while Thomas Gogois of France took bronze with 17.38.

Along with the long jump, the triple jump was held on a raised platform right next to the Stadio Olimpico stands that competitors said provided more "bounce."

The championships end Wednesday when Armand Duplantis could make another attempt at extending his pole vault world record. Also, Marcell Jacobs and Olympic champion Italy will have the home crowd behind them in the 4x100 relay.