European Athletics is saddened to learn of the death on Thursday of Andreas Brugger, for almost 30 years the organiser of the famed Weltklasse meeting in Zurich, at the age of 91.
Originally an insurance agent, Brugger was the 1955 Swiss shot put champion and a coach at the local Zurich athletics club (LCZ) before moving into meeting organisation.
Under his aegis, the Weltklasse meeting became one of the world’s most illustrious one-day meetings and 19 world records were set during his tenure as meeting organiser from 1973-2000.
The meeting was part of the Golden Four series that was inaugurated in 1993 which, in turn, evolved into the Golden League in 1998 and then the IAAF Diamond League in 2010. Brugger was also founder and first president of Euromeetings, the association of European one-day track meets, which was established in 1979.
I was very sorry to hear the passing of a dear friend & former meet director of Weltklasse Zürich Andreas Brügger this morning. Andreas started Euromeetings in 1969 & was president until 1998 when I succeeded him. He would have been 92 on Feb 2, 2019. Sleep well Andreas RIP pic.twitter.com/BAnmh0Zt2n
— Svein Arne Hansen (@SvenPres) December 27, 2018
Brugger was recognised with various awards including the Order of the International Olympic Committee and earlier this month he was awarded the President's Award at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2018 to honour his life-long commitment to athletics.
“The death of Res (as he was widely known) has touched me deeply,” said European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen.
“He was a close friend but also a visionary who did so much to modernise athletics by bringing in sponsors and being at the forefront of the introduction of professionalism to our sport.
“Andreas took the initiative to form the Golden Four, which is still probably the best meeting series ever seen in athletics. We then worked closely together to establish the Golden Four and then the Golden League when I was the director of the Bislett Games and kept in regularly contact after he retired in 2000. Athletics is much poorer without him.
“On behalf of European Athletics, I would like to pass on our deepest sympathy and condolences to his family,” added Hansen.