This is Stuart Weir’s preview of the European Championships and excuse for why he did not go to Glasgow. In 2014, Stuart Weir and I met there and I told Scottish media team that I was beginning a request by US to join the Commonwealth Games. It was a joke, but besides feeding me haggis for 18 days. My stomach recovered just in time for Beijing (seriously, I loved Scottis food and I eat fresh veggies and tofu every day even in the states).
We thank Stuart for working with RunBlogRun on this and every other major event in 2018.
I have been asked several times if I am going to Glasgow this week. I reply “No, Berlin”. Let me explain. As an experiment this year European Championships in a range of sports are taking place simultaneously this week. Part of the thinking is having a package to sports to offer to television. Now I know that RunBlogRun readers will be shocked and horrified at the thought that TV is influencing the schedules of sport….
So we have in Glasgow European Championships in cycling, swimming and other aquatic events, triathlon, rowing, gymnastics and golf as well the track and field in Berlin. Berlin has sold 250,000 tickets for the European Athletics Championships which feature 1573 athletes from 51 countries (744 women and 829 men). It is the usual championship format with 3 athletes per country per event and in addition the defending champion invited back. The event lasts 7 days and just to confuse you the second day is called Day 1, the third day Day 2 etc with the first (half) day called Day Q – as all the events are at the qualifying stage.
The European Championships were first held in 1934 and (1942 excepted) have taken place every four years since. Since 2012, there has been a European championship every two years but as 2012 and 2016 were held just before the Olympics the event in the Olympic year has proved to be of a lower standard with many top athletes opting out to concentrate on the Olympics. In 2020 Paris will host the European Championships after the Olympics.
In a global context, it would have to be said that only 10 Europeans are listed in the current IAAF world leads (championship distances only). That said there will be a lot of high quality performances. The inter country competition on the medal table adds a great deal to the occasion. That France, Germany, Great Britain and Poland topping the medal table in the past 4 events, shows you that there is all to play for. Taking gold medals only, GB had 12 in 2014 and 5 in 2016. Athletics Weekly is predicting 6 this year.
And the good news is that the popular 2009 mascot, Berlino, will be back, the one of whom Usain Bolt said “Ich bin ein Berlino”