Golden 25: #24 -- European Model

(ATR) European Olympic Committee leaders hope for the best in Minsk 2019.

(ATR) Leaders of the European Olympic Committees look to Minsk for signs that their European Games will be a sustainable event.

EOC President Janez Kocijančič oversees the road to the second edition of the games next June. A crowded calendar packed with dozens of European championships makes it tough to find room for this event. With just 15 sports on the program for Minsk, the European Games fall short of a continental prelude to the Olympics.

Then there’s the every four years European Championships, which premiered in 2018. Easy to confuse with the European Games, this commercial enterprise includes athletics, swimming and rowing among its sports, which are not in the European Games.

Hellenic Olympic Committee president Spyros Capralos is head of the CoComm, as he was for Baku in 2015. Secretary general Raffaele Pagnozzi is another key player in European Games prep. Working in Minsk as executive director is Simon Clegg, formerly COO of Baku 2015.

February is the deadline for applications for the 2023 edition, giving a potential host little more than four years to prepare. Minsk has had but three years to prepare for this event with 4,000 athletes from 50 nations, competing in 15 sports.

EOC Liaison Member for the European Union Niels Nygaard from the Denmark NOC and Estonian NOC chief Juri Tamm will be watching for complications arising for sport from Brexit once the March deadline for British withdrawal has passed.

Kocijančič and his colleagues in the EOC are defenders of the so-called European Model for sport. As much philosophical as practical, the model calls for development of sport for the purpose of a better society rather than sport driven by commercial interests. Like the European Championships, the EOC might argue.

The Around the Rings Golden 25 is the annual survey of individuals who will have the most influence for the Olympic Movement in the year ahead. First published in 1997, this is the 22nd edition.

Reported by Ed Hula.