The 2000 European Athletics Indoor Championships took place in the Belgian city of Ghent, with the Sydney Olympics looming large.
The competition’s 26th instalment saw 546 athletes descend on the Flanders Sports Arena – opened earlier that year.
Of the 44 competing countries it was Russia who emerged top of the medals table, claiming five golds in a 13-medal haul.
So, with Glasgow 2019 almost visible on the horizon, let’s look back at those three February days in Ghent 18 years ago.
Gardener kicks off a dynasty
After silver in Valencia two years prior, the Bath-born sprinter wanted to go one better and claim what would be the first title of his senior career.
Lining up alongside the man who edged him out by just 0.04 seconds in Spain, Angelos Pavlakakis entered the race as both reigning champion and favourite.
But it was Gardener who left Pavlakakis and his compatriot Georgios Theodoridis behind, equalling the championship record as he won in 6.49 and edged out Theodoridis by the narrowest of margins.
Malcolm strikes gold
Christian Malcolm arrived in Ghent fleet of foot and tender in years, yet the 20-year-old was already owner of the Welsh record over 200m.
And he shattered that time, claiming gold at the indoors in 20.54 seconds – over a tenth of a second faster than his previous best.
Like Gardener, it was the first senior title of his career and set the foundations for his World Indoors silver medal in Lisbon a year later.
Szabo dominates once more
Gabriela Szabo had already cemented her place in the pantheon of women’s middle-distance running well before she arrived in Belgium.
The Romanian was already in possession of a bulging trophy cabinet, which was littered with silverware from Olympics, World Championships, European Championships and World Indoors.
It was no surprise, then, when she retained her 3,000m title in Ghent, a win made all the more remarkable by the fact that she finished ahead of no less than four athletes who set national records in the race, with two others also recording personal best times.
Carroll breaks the drought
Heading into the 2000 European indoors, Ireland were without a medal at the championships since 1979, but that was before Mark Carroll came along.
The Cork native won the first – and what would be the only – senior title of his career with a supreme gold in the 3,000m, sending supporters from the Emerald Isle into raptures.
In a remarkably tight race it was the 28-year-old Carroll who won the sprint to the line, with just 0.73 seconds separating the top three.
Johansson jumps for joy
Erica Johansson had made quite a statement by the time she dusted the sand from her shoes after her first leap in the women’s long jump.
The Swede had just recorded a jump of 6.89m, breaking the Swedish record in the process and laying down a marker that would not be bettered in the competition.
The 26-year-old was only able to record two further legal jumps out of her six, but in the end it turned out that her first would be enough.
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