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Curtain-raiser for Olympic Games

Helsinki Stadium

Helsinki Stadium

With less than two months before the Helsinki 2012 European Athletics Championships, and barely three months before the London Olympics, European Athletics President Hansjörg Wirz addressed the relationship between the two events.

For the first time ever the European Athletics Championships is being staged in the same year as the Summer Games.

“Helsinki 2012 will be a spectacular opening act for what will happen in London a month later,” said President Wirz, speaking ahead of the European Athletics Council meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, this weekend.

“For those who love athletics, Helsinki 2012 will be a taste of things to come, and there is a clear benefit to European Athletics with staging the Championships in close proximity to the Olympics.

“The vast majority of European athletes who will go on to win medals in London will be on display at our Championships, the showpiece of our sport on the continent.

“From what they have been saying since the start of the year, nearly all of Europe’s top athletes have had the dates of Helsinki 2012 in their diaries for a long time.

The 2012 European Athletics Championships will be held in Helsinki, Finland, from 27 June to 1 July.

“As always, the 2012 European Athletics Championships will be an event of the highest quality from a performance point -of-view, but this situation is enhanced by the Olympic Games coming later this summer.

“One reason for this is that the 2012 European Athletics Championships offers a previously unavailable championship rehearsal ahead of the Olympics for European athletes.

“The US Olympic Trials have historically been great meetings and brought out the best in the top American athletes as they strive to prove themselves just a month or so before an Olympics.

“A similar situation now presents itself in Europe thanks to the timing of this year’s Championships.

“Helsinki 2012 is the biggest athletics event in the world this year prior to London. Thanks to the Olympics, the European Athletics Championships is perfectly positioned and poised to capitalise on the heightened interest at large in our sport.

“It has been shown in the past that the general public, those who might not be deeply engaged in athletics at other times, follow the sport much more closely in Olympic years. I’m sure we will be rewarded with excellent TV audiences around Europe, and indeed the world, as this audience follows the preparations of the people they hope will become their Olympic heroes and heroines.

“For more dedicated athletics fans and the media, they will be able to examine the form of athletes more closely than in any other environment ahead of the Olympic Games.

“I am sure that the European Athletics Championships will create a great many debating points for everyone who is interested, to whatever extent, in athletics ahead of the Olympics.

“It will be the first time the European Athletics Championships is held in the same year as the Summer Games but every four years from now I anticipate it becoming a focal point of the sport, in conjunction with the Olympics.”


  1. […] Curtain-raiser for Olympic Games is a post from: Time-to-Run Europe […]

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