Christophe Lemaitre defends 100m
HELSINKI -- Christophe Lemaitre of France successfully defended his 100 meters title at the European Championships in a chaotic race on Thursday. Only five of the eight finalists crossed the line.
Lemaitre finished ahead of teammate Jimmy Vicaut while Norway's Jaysuma Saidy Ndure took bronze.
Ivet Lalova of Bulgaria won the women's 100, the first gold in her quest for a sprint double.
After two false starts in which only Simone Collio of Italy was eliminated, Ronalds Arajs of Latvia fell with an apparent injury near the end and Rytis Sakalauskas of Lithuania failed to get properly out of the blocks.
In 59-degree weather on a damp track with a headwind, Lemaitre finished in 10.09 seconds, 0.03 ahead of Vicaut.
Two years ago, Lemaitre won a sprint triple at the championships, but decided against running the 200 to save energy before the London Olympics.
Lemaitre will go for a second gold in the sprint relays this weekend.
Lalova ran down Olesya Povh of Ukraine and Lina Grincikaite of Lithuania at the line. Lalova won in 11.28 seconds at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium, well off the European record of 10.73.
"The race was tough. The weather is not good for sprinting," Lalova said.
She's also favored for the 200, which has the first heats on Friday.
In the women 5,000, Russia got its first gold when Olga Golovkina swept from third to first in the straight to beat Ukraine's Lyudmyla Kovalenko and Portugal's Sara Moreira.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
MORE OLYMPICS HEADLINES
- Durant, USA pull away from Spain to win gold
- Clippers' Paul has successful surgery on thumb
- Schmitt back to school after Olympic stardom
- Olympian Raisman, Poland Spring sign deal
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
All the information you need for track and field rules, athletes, schedules and history.