12 Aug 2018

President Hansen calls Berlin 2018 'best ever' European Athletics Championships

The Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships due to finish tonight have been the “best ever,” according to European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen.

“Thank you, Berlin. You have delivered the best European Championships ever, that is for sure,” Hansen told a closing press conference at the Olympic Stadium.

“I have been to every one since 1970 and maybe people will have another opinion, but we have had an unbelievable atmosphere in the stadium which has been bringing tears to the eyes, not only in my country of Norway, but in many places. We have so far had 27 countries with medals.”

Aleksander Dzembritski, Berlin State Secretary for Sport, commented: “We are very, very satisfied with these European Championships. 

“Wherever I’ve been, whether it was the arena at the Breitscheidplatz, or it was the Olympic stadium, or at the concert that was held on Tuesday, there were fantastic emotions. I think there was no better way of showing our European idea.

“There was an emotional goodbye from [retiring German discus thrower] Robert Harting. We learned the word ‘goosebumps.’ And in the Olympic Stadium there were more and more spectators every day, they celebrated and it was a fantastic feeling.

“We started in Glasgow, and they delivered, and I am very, very sure that Berlin delivered," he said, referring to the inaugural multisport European Championships, which has brought together continental championships in seven sports – athletics in Berlin, and in Glasgow aquatics, rowing, triathlon, cycling, golf and gymnastics

“This was a great event, it worked very well.”

Stefan Kuerten, Executive Director EBU Sport, described the EBU Member's broadcast of the European Championships in gambling terms:

“We brought in the best media we had, the best host broadcasters and services. On top of that we brought 40 EBU member organisations with us who cleared their schedules and went for between 8-12 hours live coverage for a new event. As you would say in poker, we went 'all in'. When we see what Berlin did, what European Athletics did, what Glasgow did, it was beyond expectations. The viewing figures have been incredible in Germany, and in Norway, where the reach was 80 per cent. We have had a 50 per cent reach in the Czech Republic, and between 30-40 per cent in Switzerland. The whole concept flies. It shows how free-to-air public service broadcasting is an incredible partner for multi-sport events.”

Dr. Clemens Prokop, President of the Organising Committee for Berlin 2018, said: “When we bid for these Championships five years ago we announced we would organise an innovative championship that would mark an important step in the future of athletics in Europe – and according to the Secretary of State and the European Athletics President I think we did it. I am very proud of that. I think we can say Berlin did a good job for the city and for athletics.”

Frank Kowalski, CEO Berlin 2018 European Championships, added: “We are expecting about 45,000 spectators tonight. Including qualification day that means we have had a total of 360,000 spectators at the stadium, and the European Mile has drawn around 150,000.

That means we activated more than 500,000 people for our sport. This was beyond our expectations. But this is not an accident. There was a really strong concept behind it when we went into the bidding in 2013.”

Kowalski added that Saturday evening’s athletics, watched by a crowd of 60,500, represented a significant step forward in the presentation of the sport.

“That was a big change,” he said. “A session of only two hours of athletics, only finals. And in my opinion, we do not need any change of athletics. We need to have professional presentation, very compact time schedules and the emotions of the athletes, and then we have perfect moment of athletics during the evening.”

Hansen concluded: “We want the same system in four years. We have an eight-year deal with the EBU and we want to have the best conditions for European athletics. If it is one city, or one region – we don’t know yet.”