Tributes have been paid overnight to Svein Arne Hansen by many well-known names in the world of athletics after the European Athletics President died on Saturday at the age of 74.
European Athletics Interim President Dobromir Karamarinov and European Athletics CEO Christian Milz were among the first to respond to Svein Arne’s death and their words can be read here in yesterday’s announcement.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, who competing several times at the famed Bislett Games of which Hansen was the meeting director for many years, also penned a fulsome tribute to his friend of more than four decades.
“We have known each other for 43 years. Sven gave me my first big international break in athletics at the Bislett Games in Oslo and provided me with the platform for two of my three world records in 41 days back in 1979. He was in the vanguard of globalising our sport and, along with Andreas Brugger in Zurich and Wilfred Meert in Brussels, was one of the three game-changers in our sport,” reflected Coe.
“He brought a professionalism to our one-day meetings that is still the template today and crucially he had the political savvy to be able to do that and navigate the sport from an amateur era into becoming an open sport and then a professional sport when there was a real risk that fault lines between East and West Europe could have split the sport apart.
“But his loss today, alongside his much-loved family, will be felt most acutely by generations of athletes whose aspirations he helped fulfil. Our deepest sympathies go to his family and the European Athletics family who today lost their hugely popular and effective President.”
Top athletes, past and present, also remembered the well-loved figure who was elected European Athletics' fifth President in 2015 and then re-elected unopposed last year. at the 2019 Congress in Prague.
Saddened to hear of the loss of a good friend Svein Arne Hansen - curator of the Bislett Games and the Dream mile. @EuroAthletics President. A big character from the old school of our sport. RIP— Steve Backley OBE (@Steve_Backley) June 20, 2020
So sad to hear of the passing of president of @EuroAthletics Svein Arne Hansen. He was always so encouraging and supporting. I will always remember him smiling and joking around. RIP pic.twitter.com/0Bx7TzG67p— Katerina Stefanidi (@KatStefanidi) June 20, 2020
Deeply saddened to hear about the death of Svein Arne Hansen.. He was so much part of the sport whilst I was competing in athletics RIP— Colin R Jackson (@ColinJackson) June 20, 2020
Really saddened by this news. Svein was a great character & so passionate about our sport. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him & is a huge loss to our sport. My thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP https://t.co/8xYTdYbBfC— Jo Pavey (@jopavey) June 20, 2020
Sad to hear of the passing of Svein Arne Hansen. I competed many times in Oslo. He was always a pleasure to work with. RIP.— Michael Johnson (@MJGold) June 20, 2020
Saddened to receive the news about @SvenPres . He will be missed, deeply. I am blessed to have made such a great friend in this sport and will cherish every moment we shared. My condolence to his family. Thank you for your leadership, support, and positivity. #godblessyou— Christian Taylor (@Taylored2jump) June 21, 2020
Tributes have also come in from many of the European Athletics 51 Member Federations.
La RFEA desea mostrar su pésame más sincero y cariñoso a @EuroAthletics , familiares y allegados del hasta hoy su presidente Svein Arne Hansen.— atletismoRFEA (@atletismoRFEA) June 20, 2020
Se fue un hombre de gran talento y dinamismo.
Ã¢Â¬› La FFA a appris avec une grande tristesse le décès de Svein Arne Hansen, président de European Athletics. Elle salue la mémoire d'un grand dirigeant, visionnaire et Ã la personnalité chaleureuse, et présente ses condoléances les plus sincères Ã sa famille et Ã ses proches. pic.twitter.com/wr0ueCsFrh— FFA (@FFAthletisme) June 20, 2020
Further tributes can be read here and European Athletics would like to thank everyone who has remembered Svein Arne Hansen and had his family in their thoughts.
In accordance with the European Athletics Constitution, Senior Vice President Dobromir Karamarinov will continue as European Athletics Interim President and assume all the relevant duties including being the European Area Association representative on the World Athletics Council, until the next European Athletics Congress which now becomes an 'Election Congress'.
The next Congress, the 27th edition, is currently scheduled to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland on 15-17 October 2021.