A revolutionary new athletics experience is coming soon to a stadium near you.
At the European Games Minsk 2019 from 21-30 June, European Athletics and the European Olympic Committees (EOC) will unveil Dynamic New Athletics (DNA), an action-packed new mixed-gender team event built on tactics, competitiveness and grit.
Three years in the making, Dynamic New Athletics has been meticulously put together to appeal to new audiences, especially young people, in a rapidly changing digital world.
“Let’s be clear: we are proud of traditional athletics – we don’t want to change our sport at all, we only want to showcase it in an innovative new way, trying to be more dynamic and more interactive,” said Libor Varhaník, the European Athletics Council Member in charge of the project. “We will incorporate new technologies and try to communicate about it using storytelling and narrative. All the research showed us there is huge potential so it is now upon us to be brave and take the chance.”
For the first time ever, the DNA of athletics -- running, jumping and throwing – will take place in the same event. In Dynamic New Athletics, teams of men and women battle each other for supremacy in 10 intensely competitive events in only two hours. Only one team can win and it will all come down to the final event.
The opening event is the Track’athlon, a brand new athletics assault course that features a sled run, shot put toss, standing long jump, water jump and a medicine ball run for men in lap 1 and the same minus the medicine ball run – but plus a parachute run – for women in lap 2. These components were included as they are often part of athletes’ training regimes, giving fans a rare opportunity to see them performed in a competitive environment.
DNA has rewired traditional field events. Athletes will go head to head in individual battles in high jump, long jump and javelin where every attempt counts. Whoever throws or jumps further progresses.
Super-charged team races follow. Sprints, hurdles, and a mixed 4x400 relay power the middle of the match.
DNA concludes with another new event called The Hunt, a distance-medley race where the teams that perform best in the first nine events get a proportionate head start. The only goal is to cross the line first and claim overall victory.
“The purpose behind the new format is to appeal to a younger audience between the ages of 15 and 34,” said Marcel Wakim, Head of New Business Development at European Athletics. “We currently see these demographics walking by our common athletics house. We see DNA as a new entry point, a new door, to our house.”
“I like what they’re doing [with DNA],” said IAAF President Seb Coe, “I like it a lot. It embraces the team ethic. It embraces the fact that you are asking athletes to do a range of activities particularly at a younger grouping. I think it’s an innovative, thoughtful approach to try to ignite even more excitement among young people."
In Minsk next year, the top 30 athletics nations in Europe are scheduled to compete in DNA. The knock-out tournament will take place from 23-28 June 2019, with four competition days and two rest days. Each team will feature up to 17 athletes and 6 reserves. There will be 33 medals up for grabs in Minsk: gold, silver and bronze for the best team overall, and gold, silver and bronze for the best individual athletes in each of the 10 disciplines.
Next up for DNA on the road to the European Games will be a test event at Dinamo Stadium in Minsk on 26 September. Following presentations to the media and coaches on the sidelines of the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships this week, a DNA Head Coaches Workshop is scheduled for 25 October in Lausanne, Switzerland.
For a short video on the DNA concept, click here.