European Athletics’ first female Vice President Strasser passes away at 85

Erika Strasser
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Austria's Erika Strasser, the first woman to serve on the European Athletics Council and as Vice President, passed away on Friday at the age of 85

European Athletics is very saddened to hear of the passing of Erika Strasser, the first woman to be elected onto the European Athletics Council before becoming the first female Vice President of European Athletics, at the age of 85.

“I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of two-time Olympian Erika Strasser who was the first female elected to the European Athletics Council from 1987-2007 and Vice President from 1991-1995. She was President of Austrian Athletics. A true pioneer of our sport. May she rest in peace,” said European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen.

Strasser represented Austria extensively internationally in the javelin in the 1960s. She competed at both the 1960 Olympics in Rome and the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and finished inside the top-eight at both the 1962 and 1966 European Championships.

Strasser retired from competitive athletics in 1969 but she was to make a huge impact away from the field of play over the next four decades.

She served as President of the Austrian Athletics Federation from 1985 to 1994 before becoming the first woman to be elected onto the European Athletics Council in 1987. She was then elected European Athletics Vice President in 1991, also the first woman to hold that post.

"I have always felt the need to do something for women, to make a difference. Equality and above all the recognition of women in sport was and is very important to me," said Strasser on her accomplishments.

Strasser was the first woman to serve on the Austrian Olympic Committee and was also heavily involved with the organising of the annual Linz Gugl-Meeting.

Strasser’s funeral takes place on 23 May at 3:00pm at the Urnenhain Linz-Urfahr.