Munich’s magical sporting history makes it the perfect backdrop for the multi-sport European Championships to build on the foundations laid in 2018 and capture the hearts of the continent once again, according to organisers.
Nine sports will take centre stage for 11 action-packed days in the historic German city from 11th to 21st August as athletics, cycling and gymnastics’ European showdowns are infused with newer kids on the block such as sport climbing, table tennis and canoe sprint.
The trailblazing innovation is the brainchild of sports administrators Paul Bristow and Marc Joerg – Co-Founders and Managing Directors of European Championships Management – who first devised the idea more than 10 years ago before battling through broadcasting barriers and resistance to the status quo to put the wheels in motion for the inaugural multi-sport showpiece in Glasgow and Berlin four years ago.
Munich is now poised to enjoy its place in the sun as European eyeballs pivot to the city celebrating the 50th anniversary of it hosting the 1972 Olympic Games.
The city’s iconic Olympiapark will function as the epicentre of this week’s event and Bristow, whose international sports marketing and programming expertise has spanned 20 seasons of the UEFA Champions League, three FIFA World Cups, two Olympic Games and numerous World and European Championships, is relishing the prospect of embracing half a century of sporting nostalgia.
He said: “I’m incredibly excited.
“Our team on the ground are seeing Munich really come to life – and the iconic Olympiapark from the 1972 Olympic Games is looking like a major event stage again.
“It’s no secret the key driver for Munich was the 50th anniversary for the 1972 Olympic Games.
“This will be the biggest multi-sport event taking place in Germany for the last 50 years.
“I was a young lad in 1972 and the Olympics inspired me and my love of sport.
“This is a celebration of 50 years of history in the park – they’ve had World Cup finals and all sorts of things in the stadium since the Olympics, so the experience on the ground is huge,
“I hope this summer will now inspire the next generation.”
The concept of creating a multi-sport European Championships has been a long time in the making but finally came to fruition in 2018.
Bristow and Joerg, marketing director for UEFA from 1996 to 2000, successfully navigated the numerous logistical obstacles to create the Glasgow and Berlin bonanza and fulfil their long-term dream.
The number of participating sports has grown from seven to nine in the four years that followed with beach volleyball, canoe sprint, para-sport events, sport climbing and table tennis now joining the roster for Munich.
Bristow added: “There seemed to be an opportunity to bring existing events together at the same time, same place, under an umbrella brand, and raise the profile of them significantly.
“I’m very proud. It hasn’t been easy, so it has taken a lot of patience and tenacity to get to this point.
“Hopefully the halo effect will be that the athletes become more recognised for their achievements – to be the best out of 750 million people on the continent deserves the recognition at the highest level – and the profile of the individual events is raised.
“We want to make sure this is an event that is still around in a 100 years’ time, and we’ll continue to grow on each successive edition.”
Several sports represented at Munich 2022 are already in the international spotlight after the booming success of the of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Millions of viewers consistently flocked to BBC’s wall-to-wall coverage in the UK and Bristow hopes this week’s multi-sport showpiece can continue the momentum.
He said: “We’ve worked in great collaboration with the Commonwealth Games to ensure both events could be enjoyed by the millions of sports fans in the UK and there’s a definite appetite for people to enjoy this multi-sport concept.
“We’re trying to broaden the appeal with this general aggregation to sports fans beyond the main eventer – and we’ve certainly achieved that.
“We want people to be part of the big event, experience it and get totally absorbed by the fantastic sport that’s on offer.”
The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the Germany city. Buy tickets at tickets.munich2022.com