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Friday, 2 August, 2002, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
A long history of success
Heike Drechsler has won four European long jump golds
Heike Drechsler has won four long jump golds

The European Athletics Championships are one of the longest established events in the sporting calendar - first taking place in 1934.

They were the brainchild of Dr Stankovic, a Hungarian member of the IAAF, in the 1920s.

His proposal was approved in 1933, and a year later the first competition, for men only, went ahead at the Communale Stadium in Turin, Italy.

In 1938 women did compete - but they were in Vienna, while the men were in Paris - and it was Oslo in 1946 before they shared the same venue.

  Venues: 1934-69
1934: Turin, Italy
1938: Paris, France (Men); Vienna, Austria (women)
1946: Oslo, Norway
1950: Brussels, Belgium
1954: Bern, Switzerland
1958: Stockholm, Sweden
1962: Belgrade, Yugoslavia
1966: Budapest, Hungary

Host cities since then have included Athens, Bern, Paris and Prague.

This year the championships take place at the Olympic Stadium in Munich - itself steeped in sporting history.

In the 18th championship meeting, more than 1600 athletes from 49 countries will take part in 46 different track and field events.

In those disciplines, 21 world records are held by European athletes, promising a far from second-string meeting.

Medal tables in the past were dominated by athletes from the old Soviet Union until 1990, and East and West Germany before reunification in 1991.

British athletes have always performed strongly too, but in each event there are always several nations in the medal hunt.

Daley Thompson
Daley Thompson took decathlon gold twice
Taking place every four years - apart from when they were held in 1969 and 1971 - each of the 17 championships so far have thrown up their own stars.

Dutch duo Christian Berger and Fanny Blankers-Koen were two of the first heroes to emerge.

Berger did the 100m and 200m double in 1934, and Blankers-Koen won seven medals in four different events between 1938 and 1950.

Speed was also the strength of Poland's Irena Kirszenstein Szewinskia.

Her four golds, one silver and two bronze were won between 1966 to 1974 and came in the 100m, 200m, 400m and long jump.

Soviet long jumper Igor Ter Ovanesyan was another to dominate his event, taking three golds and two silver medals between 1958 and 1971.

  Venues: 1969-1998
1969: Athens, Greece
1971: Helsinki, Finland
1974: Rome, Italy
1978: Prague, Czechoslovakia
1982: Athens, Greece
1986: Stuttgart, Germany
1990: Split, Yugoslavia
1994: Helsinki, Finland
1998: Budapest, Hungary
In the modern era, Portugal's Rosa Mota made a name for herself with three successive marathon wins from 1982-90.

And who could forget Daley Thompson's epic decathlon duals with Germany's Jurgen Hingsen in the mid-eighties.

The Briton came out on top in both 1982 and 1986, - the British star winning on both occasions.

But German superstar Heike Drechsler has shown she has the most staying power.

She has taken gold in long jump at each Championships since 1986, as well as a gold and silver in the 200m.

Drechsler will jump again in Munich, looking for a record fifth long jump triumph.

All-time European Championships table
Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Soviet Union 119 109 103 331
German DR 91 85 66 242
Gt. Britain & NI 76 54 59 189
FR of Germany 36 42 48 126
France 34 36 29 99
Poland 33 32 39 104
Germany 32 25 23 80
Italy 31 37 32 101
Finland 29 26 32 87
Sweden 19 33 33 85

  • The Soviet Union competed from 1934-1990; Germany 1934, 1938 and 1994 on; FR Germany from 1954-1990; German DR 1958-1990.

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