Twelve-time polish shot put champion Paulina Guba rained on German Christina Schwanitz’s hopes of a third European crown when she snatched victory with her sixth and final effort on Wednesday.
Schwanitz, the 2015 world champion, looked set for victory after going out to 19.19 with her first attempt, but the large home crowd were silenced after Guba stepped into the ring for one last go to hand Poland a third field gold of the championship with a winning throw of 19.33 meters.
And there was no golden send-off to Schwanitz’s teammate Robert Harting, whose singlet-ripping, mascot-carrying celebration after winning world discus gold in the same Olympic Stadium at the 2009 worlds have taken on legendary status.
The German came in sixth in a competition also dramatically won by Lithuanian Andrius Gudzius, his last throw of 68.46m usurping Sweden’s Daniel Stahl by 23cm, in a repeat of last year’s world 1-2 finish in London.
But there was finally something for the home fans to cheer, Arthur Abele making it around the final strength-sapping 1500m to claim decathlon gold with a total of 8,431 points.
The performance left the long-time injury-plagued 32-year-old in tears, a fast-food restaurant crown stuck atop his head and Devid Bowie’s Heroes playing loudly over the tannoy.
US-based Briton Tim Duckworth, long-time leader after France’s world champion Kevin Mayer bombed out after just two events, paid the price for a poor run to come in fifth.
There was also a rare gold for Israel in the women’s 10,000m with gold for Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, who left her native Kenya to work in Israel in 2008 before meeting her husband-cum-coach there and then qualifying to run for the Jewish state in time for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Salpeter clocked 31min 43.29sec ahead of Dutchwoman Susan Krumins.