The history of European Athletics involves a cast of tens of thousands: Presidents and Council members past and present, athletes, volunteers, media, officials, event staff, office staff… the list goes on. If one is looking for a date when it all started, then we can look back to 7 January 1934, at the Gundel restaurant in Budapest, Hungary, when the European Committee of the IAAF met and, led by Hungarian Szilard Stankovits, discussed matters concerning the sport of athletics on the continent.
The European Athletic Association (EAA) began its life with the first Congress in Paris in November 1970, and so in 2010 we celebrate our 40th ‘official’ birthday. In line with this joyous celebration, we are extremely happy that this historical perspective of our organisation has been published.
Much has changed in our long history. Today, European Athletics finds itself in a strong position, with continued success in the production of its events, outstanding European performances on the track and field, sound progress in our long-term planning for events, advances in the creation of a cohesive one-day meeting system, and success in our development initiatives.
Indeed, European Athletics strives to be an innovative leader not only in the production of high-quality events but also in serving society in initiatives promoting social responsibility and sustainability, gender equity, health, and the engagement of youth in our sport. A love of athletics sustains our commitment in continuing to work towards our mission of making athletics ‘Your Sport for Life’. I would like to thank the authors, Anne Roger and Thierry Terret, for their exhaustive work in helping with this mission, and I hope that you enjoy reading this wonderful history of our sport in Europe.
President, European Athletics