Paris has staged the European Athletics Championships once before, back when both the sporting and political landscape was very different to the present day.
The Colombes Stadium hosted the second edition but only in part in 1938. At that time the men’s and women’s competitions were still held separately so while the French capital held the men’s events from 3-5 September, the women competed across a programme of only nine events in Vienna, Austria on 17-18 September.
The men’s and women’s competitions were amalgamated for the next edition of the European Athletics Championships in 1946 and were largely held every four years up until 2010 in Barcelona when the championships were moved to a biennial cycle.
Next year’s edition of the European Athletics Championships takes place at the Charlety Stadium towards the south of the city from 26-30 August, just after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Four years after that, the eyes of the sporting world will be fixed on the French capital again which stages the Olympic Games for a third time.
“While an opportunity to celebrate the athletes after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, above all the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships will open a new cycle for French sport, of which the 2024 Olympic Games will be the highlight,” said President of the French Athletics Federation and President of Paris 2020.
The organisers of Paris 2020 have made sustainability one of its key priorities. The compactness of venues - only five minutes’ walk between the Charlety Stadium and the Cité Universitaire where the athletes will be accommodated - will allow athletes to arrive at the stadium on foot, thus reducing in the carbon footprint of the event. Other eco-responsible initiatives will be carried out to promote the use of public transportation for spectators.
At the last edition of the European Championships in Berlin, France was one of five countries to win 10 medals or more across the six days of competition. Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (110m hurdles), Mourad Amdouni (10,000m) and Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad (3000m steeplechase) all came away with gold medals while the French team also accrued four silver medals and three bronze medals.
In total, 10 championship records were set at the 2018 European Championships including four on the last day: Koen Naert in the marathon (2:09:51), Sifan Hassan in the 5000m (14:46.12), Anita Wlodarczyk in the hammer (78.94m) and Armand Duplantis in the pole vault (6.05m).