German javelin thrower Johannes Vetter and Greek pole vaulter Ekaterini Stefanidi have been crowned the respective men’s and women’s European athletes of the year at the Golden Tracks gala here tonight.
In a year in which they were both crowned world champions, Vetter and Stefanidi also created their own piece of history in Lithuania’s capital.
Vetter is the first German to claim the men's title, while Stefanidi is the first Greek athlete - male or female - to lift the accolade.
In July, the 24-year-old Vetter soared to second on the world all-time javelin lists with a throw of 94.44 metres in Swiss city Lucerne.
The following month, he won the gold medal at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London.
Vetter received the trophy from Bulgaria's Dobromir Karamarinov, the first vice-president of European Athletics.
He was one of three men on the shortlist alongside world 200 metres champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey and world decathlon champion Kevin Mayer of France.
Reigning European and Olympic champion Stefanidi, 27, asserted herself as the dominant force in pole vaulting again by winning the gold medal at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March and then becoming world champion in London.
Stefanidi cleared 4.85m to claim victory by 10 centimetres in Belgrade before setting a Greek record and world-lead of 4.91m to secure the world title by 16 centimetres.
She was unbeaten outdoors in 2017 and ended the summer by winning the IAAF Diamond League title in Brussels.
Stefanidi was presented with the trophy by European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen.
She finished ahead of the shortlisted world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene of Russia, world heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium and world hammer champion Anita Wlodarczyk ov Poland.
At a star-studded gala, world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm of Norway and world high jump silver medallist Yuliya Levchenko of Ukraine were crowned the men’s and women’s rising stars respectively.
Warholm became the youngest ever winner of the men’s 400m hurdles title at the IAAF World Championships and he fittingly received his award from fellow Norwegian Hansen.
Other contenders for this category were European under-20 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway and European under-20 long jump champion Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece.
Levchenko, 19, won three major medals in her first senior season, which began with bronze at the European Athletics Indoor Championships with 1.94m.
She then moved to the top of the podium in July with victory at the European Athletics Under-23 Championships in Polish city Bydgoszcz, registering a lifetime best of 1.96m.
Levchenko then cleared a national under-23 record of 2.01m to claim the silver medal at the IAAF World Championships.
She received her award from Germany's European Athletics vice-president Frank Hensel.
Levchenko was nominated alongside European under-23 1500m champion Konstanze Klosterhalfen of Germany and European under-23 5,000m and 10,000m champion Yasemin Can of Turkey.
A total of 40 coaches representing 25 Member Federations will receive the annual European Athletics coaching awards, which will be given to them at national awards presentations.
Lithuania’s Aldona Dobregiene and Viktoras Meskauskas were the first to collect their awards, presented to them by France's European Athletics vice-president Jean Garcia.
There were two further special awards, both given to Lithuanian athletes.
Former world indoor long jump bronze medallist Nijolė Medvedeva received the women’s leadership award, also presented by Gracia.
Legendary discus thrower and two-time Olympic champion Virgilijus Alekna was presented with the lifetime achievement award.
The ceremony, held to the backdrop of the sounds of the Vilnius Sinfonietta Orchestra, was attended by IAAF President Sebastian Coe.
It was broadcast live both on Lithuanian television and via live streaming on the European Athletics homepage.