After a first part of the summer already rich in sporting events, it’s time for the European Championship from Thursday 11th to Sunday 21st August. Building on its success in 2018, where events were split between Berlin and Glasgow, the competition is back in action, this time in Munich, Germany. With some 4,700 athletes, 50 nations represented and 12 disciplines (for nine sports), the organizers evoke “The biggest multi-sport event in Munich since [les Jeux olympiques de] 1972″.
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On the programme: athletics, rowing, beach volleyball, sprint canoeing, cycling (road, track, BMX Freestyle and cross-country mountain biking), climbing, gymnastics, table tennis and triathlon. all in eleven days “celebration and enhancement of the athletes of the continent”James Mulligan, communication director of the organizing committee of the European Championships, enthuses.
According to James Mulligan, “The vision and philosophy of these championships can be summed up in Aristotle’s phrase : ‘The whole is greater than the sum of the parts'”. Understand: instead of seeing each discipline host a European championship, you could also come together for a sporting fireworks show. The ambition is to make these championships “the pinnacle of European sport and create an unmissable event for athletes and the public”James Mulligan says.
While the committee plays a coordinating role, the international federations remain in control of the competitions. “They have their hands on their calendar and their events”James Mulligan confirms. Unlike 2018, two sports have disappeared from this great European event: golf, which has been separated for calendar reasons, and swimming, which has wanted to stand out in Rome.
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The places that became vacant quickly found interested. “Many federations had asked us at the end of the 2018 edition, specifies the person in charge of communication of the organizing committee. We had estimated that the ideal number of sports was between seven and ten. Therefore, a selection procedure was launched to re-swell the ranks of the contest (it still exists, with a view to the 2026 edition). Different criteria are taken into account such as costs, potentially generated income or the popularity of the sport in question. In consultation with the city of Munich and the federations already present at the European Championships, four new disciplines have been integrated (beach volleyball, canoe sprint, climbing and table tennis).
For newcomers, such an extension is a boon. Everyone hopes to benefit from this continental spotlight. In 2018, the event was an audience success. In all, 1.4 billion people watched the events broadcast in 43 countries, according to European Championship officials.
“As soon as we heard about the initiative, and after the first European Championships in Glasgow and Berlin in 2018, we were captivated by the philosophy and goals of this event. we explain to the European Table Tennis Union. This fits perfectly with our ambition to put more emphasis on our sport in Europe, the historic birthplace and busiest continent in the world of table tennis.”
Same story from the climbing representatives side. “With its introduction to the Tokyo Games we have sought to be present in various multi-sport competitions. It is an event that benefits from great media exposure”argues Tijl Smitz, president of the European Council of the International Climbing Federation.
“Being part of this competition is an act of recognition of our discipline, which is now among the so-called ‘classic’ sports and is no longer on the sidelines.”Tijl Smitz, President of the European Council of the International Climbing Federation
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“The concentration of different sports in one place is also a good thing for sustainable development, a topic that is dear to us, climbing being a discipline originally practiced outdoors”says the Belgian. The latter has already confirmed that climbing will be on the program of the 2026 edition of the European Sports Championship.
Still, behind the figures presented, the concept of “European Sports Championship” remains vague in the eyes of the general public. The media tend to use the term “mini Olympics” to categorize this competition and its general appearance. The comparison is not to the liking of the organizing committee, which likes to claim its uniqueness. “We are a special event”emphasizes James Mulligan.
“It is a competition that is still young, we are only in our second edition, it will take a little more time for it to be recorded in the collective imagination”.concludes.
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