ZURICH -- Jo Pavey won the first major title in her career at 40 and as a mother of two. The British veteran took the lead in the last lap to outkick two Frenchwomen chasing her and claim the gold medal in the 10,000 meters at the European championships on Tuesday.
After Olympics, world championships and Commonwealth Games failed to produce gold, Britain's Pavey could not be denied on Tuesday to set the crowd at the Letzigrund alight for a memorable victory.
With eyes closed and teeth gritted in exhaustion, Pavey finished in 32 minutes, 22.39 seconds, holding an edge of 1.19 seconds over Clemence Calvin. Laila Traby took bronze in 32:26.03.
"It is funny, because I really didn't know I would still be able to run at this age," Pavey said afterward. "I tried so hard for so many years."
Moments before Pavey's win, defending champion David Storl of Germany won the first title of the competition, taking the shot put with a heave of 21.41 meters, with Spain's Borja Vivas taking silver behind the double reigning world champion with 20.86. Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski took bronze with 20.83.
On the track, Dafne Schippers successfully started her week by cruising into the semifinals of the 100 meters, the first of three titles the Dutchwoman is chasing.
Despite a bad start and a leisurely finish, she crossed in 11.10 seconds, second only to Myriam Soumare of France's 11.03. Soumare is expected to be Schippers' toughest opponent for Wednesday's title.
"I had to put on the turbo for a little while and relax afterward," said Schippers, who is looking for a sprint triple in the 100, 200 and team relay.
Defending champion Ivet Lalova was third-fastest in 11.17.
In the men's 100, Christophe Lemaitre of France is trying to rekindle the form which earned him a sprint triple at the 2010 Euros. The defending 100 champion was second-fastest with 10.16 seconds, trailing countryman Jimmy Vicaut by .10 seconds. Three Britons, led by Dwain Chambers filled the rest of the top five qualifiers.
Lemaitre skipped the 200 two years ago to focus on the Olympics. Now, the Euros are the only thing on his mind. "I want to achieve the triple again," he said.