The ‘Munich Athletics Night', hosted by the local athletics club LG Stadtwerke München in the Munich Olympic Hall provided a huge boost to the domestic promotion of the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championship on Wednesday night (6).
Memories of the 1972 Olympic Games and 2002 European Championships, which were also held at the nearby iconic stadium which will stage this summer’s Championships between 15-21 August, flooded back to the 120 invited guests as well as the assembled guests eagerly anticipating Europe's biggest athletics event of the year this summer.
Joining the gathering via video link was Germany’s 1972 men’s javelin champion Klaus Wolfermann, who would have been there in person but for an ill-timed Achilles problem which prevented him travelling to the glittering gala occasion from his nearby home.
Nevertheless, Wolfermann regaled the audience with his recollections of that great day on 3 September 1972 when he beat Latvian friend and rival Janis Lusis, then competing for the USSR, by just two centimetres with an Olympic record of 90.48m.
“Janis was in great form before the championships. I didn’t think he could be beaten but I was confident I could be in the picture and definitely thought I could be a medallist, but I never thought it would be gold.”
"When the topic of Munich comes up, three names are always mentioned: Heide Rosendahl, Ulrike Meyfarth and mine, so I'm proud of that."
Wolfermann also discussed his friendship with Lusis – who sadly died just under two years ago – which endured long after their competitive days were over.
“We used to visit each other regularly in Munich and Riga. When Janis came to visit me, he always wanted to go up the Olympic Tower, to look over the stadium from the highest point,” reflected Wolfermann, who ironically never go a medal at the European Athletics Championships, in contrast to Lusis who won for consecutive titles between 1962 and 1971.
“I’m convinced that the European Athletics Championships this summer will be a great occasion and great fun,” added the German javelin great, who also went on to set a world record the following year from his Olympic triumph.
Even if Wolfermann couldn’t be there is person, many other dignitaries did make it, including various vity councillors as well as Marion Schöne, head of Munich Olympiapark GmbH and Idriss Gonschinska, Chairman of the governing board of the German athletics federation.
The Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Hermann and CEO of European Athletics Christian Milz also sent pre-recorded welcome messages.
The event also garnered considerable media coverage including being broadcast on several television channels.
Also present were two of the contemporary generation of German international athletes who are also members of the LG Stadtwerke München club, 800m runners Katharina Trost and Christina Hering.
The latter made the semi-finals over two laps of the track at the last European Athletics Championships in Berlin four years ago and one of the faces of the multi-sport European Championships ‘Class of 22’ campaign has ambitions to go even further this time around in her home city.