Nine sports gathered in one city for a continental meeting of unprecedented proportions, with more than 4,700 athletes and 177 competitions. The second European Multisport Championship, organized from 11 to 21 August 2022 in Munich against the backdrop of the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Summer Olympics, promises to be huge.
But a sequel looks less promising for a continental event. European Athletics (EA), athletics’ governing body, will leave ship soon. In 2026, the European Multisport Championship will take place without the first Olympic sport. Hit.
The reasons ? Prospects? Jean Gracia, Vice President of the European Athletics Association, explained them FrankGames.
FrancsJeux: What do you get from an event like the European Multisport Championships where athletics shares the score with eight other sports?
John Grace : The concept was born in 2015/2016. Eurovision gave us a little push, highlighting the interest in synchronizing different sports. In 2018 it worked because all other sports were in Glasgow and we were alone in Berlin. In Munich this year, everyone will gather in one place. But this created problems. Communication is not the same for all sports, it all needs to be coordinated. And Eurovision did not exert such pressure. For the 2026 edition, European Athletics has decided to no longer participate in the general edition of the European Championships. We will restore our independence. We will only try to align our schedules with other disciplines. Swimming, which was no longer in Munich 2022, made the same decision. In 2026, there will no longer be two sports that attract the most people and attention.
Do you have any benefit from a continental multi-sport event?
It turned out that there are more problems than advantages. But we have a different approach to the European Games 2023 in Poland. We signed an agreement last year, we are fully integrated into the next European Games: we are going to organize all European team championships there, divided on this occasion into three divisions. Athletics will last a whole week.
So athletics itself is stronger than other sports?
In Munich, athletics should bring the most rankings and attention. It is obvious. But bringing everyone together helps other sports. Not to us. We have more limitations than advantages.
In what form will the next European Athletics Championships take place?
We will return to the previous formula, only with a release every two years. Rome is chosen for 2024. For 2026 we have two candidates: Birmingham and Budapest. The decision will be made in November by the European Athletics Council.
How to explain the revival of European athletics, which manifested itself, in particular, at the Olympic Games in Tokyo?
A country or continent is never at the top all the time. Today the Europeans are coming back a bit stronger. In Tokyo, this phenomenon was mainly illustrated by Italy. Norway too, but with only two or three athletes. But everything is changing. In 2006, the press suggested taking the Swedish model as an example, but in fact it was associated with 4 or 5 athletes. When they retired, Swedish athletics fell apart. I look more at the progress of Switzerland. This can be explained by the implementation of a number of actions when the Swiss organized the European Championship in Zurich in 2014. Today, Switzerland enjoys this heritage. Italy was in a depression; it originated in Tokyo. But getting medals also requires a bit of luck. For me, there is no scheme for building a model based on the success of one country.