13.08.2022, European Championchips München 2022, Europäische Mehrsportveanstaltung im Olympiapark München, BMX-Männer Freestyle Finale auf dem Olympiaberg, Ernests Zebolds Litauen zeigt seine Luftakrobatik vor den tausenden Zuschauern im traditionellen Biergarten. *** 13 08 2022, European Championchips Munich 2022, European multi-sport event in the Olympic Park Munich, BMX mens freestyle finals on the Olympic hill, Ernests Zebolds Lithuania shows his aerial acrobatics in front of the thousands of spectators in the traditional beer garden

From a German point of view, what are the pictures that have remained of the European Championships? Or the one image that will make it onto the cover of the throwback? Would the sprinter Gina Lückenkemper be a good choice, sitting on the tartan track and crying tears of joy? Or the runner Konstanze Klosterhalfen running a lap of honor with a German flag in her hand. But there are many others, for example the jubilant track cyclist Emma Hinze, the steely canoeist Sebastian Brendel, the gymnast Elisabeth Seitz and, and, and.

One thing is certain, the European Championships, as the bundled European Championships from nine sports are officially called, were a complete sporting success. Especially from a German perspective. In the end, after 176 decisions with 26 gold medals and 60 medals won, the German athletes were in first place in the medal table.

Sports nation Germany, nothing more was heard about it in connection with the Olympic disciplines for a long time. On the contrary, the Germans were left behind in the core Olympic sport of athletics – just a few weeks ago at the World Championships in Eugene in the US state of Oregon. The German Athletics Association came with 80 athletes and won a measly two medals.

When newspaper editors in this country were looking for suitable pictures for the result in Eugene, they often chose a photo from the women’s steeplechase. It showed the German Lea Meyer upside down in the moat. The photo was representative of the debacle of the German association.

That Lea Meyer couldn’t hold back her tears on Saturday night, with joy. The 24-year-old ran the race of her life over 3,000 meters in the Olympic Stadium in Munich, improved her personal best by ten seconds and surprisingly finished second.

She had suffered many setbacks, not just the fall at the World Cup, but much harder ones. Her trainer Henning von Papen died earlier this year. And just a few weeks before the World Cup, she was also infected with Corona and could hardly train. Her goal was to get into the final. So it ended up being silver.

In general, little was expected of the German athletes – which is why the results were celebrated all the more euphorically. It started on the first day of athletics competition. The marathon runner Richard Ringer, who hardly anyone had counted on, made a splendid final sprint on Ludwigstrasse in downtown Munich and was the first German to win marathon gold.

A day later, an almost magical evening followed for athletics. The decathlete Niklas Kaul shook the Olympic Stadium when he did his laps alone in the final 1500 meter run and secured the gold medal. Kaul was considered knocked out two disciplines before the end.

A little later Gina Lückenkemper sprinted over 100 meters to victory. Nobody expected that either. It was similar two days later when Konstanze Klosterhalfen, who had recently been in poor form, defeated the favorite Yasemin Can over 5000 meters. And on Sunday, the crowning final day, javelin thrower Julian Weber and the women’s relay won gold over 100 meters. A number of medals jumped out that had not even been flirted with. Not just in athletics.

The games were also a success for television. The odds were outstanding. On Saturday evening, athletics even topped the king of football in absolute terms. 4.5 million people watched the track and field competitions. The sports show on the ARD with football followed only 3.41 million interested people. By midday, up to two million viewers had tuned in to the broadcasts from the multisport event.

The calculus of the makers of the European Championships has paid off. The Multi-EM is a birth of television. The format of quick decisions has proven itself, weekend after weekend in winter sports, and every two years at the Olympics.

However, the competitions in the Bavarian capital had very little to do with the Olympics – which is what made them so atmospheric. The European Championships were more like a folk festival or – if you were in the Olympic Park – a festival. Thousands of visitors, who probably don’t have much to do with sport, sat there every day and listened to the bands and other acts of the side program – all for free, by the way. Beer was drunk and smoked. Every now and then even a puff of cannabis blew over to you.

Sure, the event in Munich also had to be financed. The tickets, especially for athletics, had their price and annoyed some spectators. But the setting couldn’t be compared to the Olympics. On the contrary, the games in Munich were anti-Olympic to a certain extent.

If only because they took place on a ground that did not have to be built on. Millions and billions of investments were not necessary. The people of Munich used the Olympic Park built for the 1972 Summer Games. And when there was a problem, as with the Olympic swimming pool in Munich that was now too small, it was not expensive to build. Instead, the swimming competitions were simply given to Rome, where people were happy about it.

“It’s terrific how well a major event can be received when it’s set up properly,” said Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter on Sunday. “The positive mood has spread throughout the city.” Such hymns of praise are not new at the end of major sporting events. They are not always justified. But this time it is.