WM 2006/WM 2009: The 12. IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin 2009 - Interview with Heiner Henze - (Part 2)
The athletics organisers do not need to ‘re-invent the wheel’ for the IAAF World Championships in 2009 footballers have already prepared things for them.
Heiner Henze Heiner (65 years young) was General Secretary for the DLV from 1973 to 1989 and for the National Olympic Committee for Germany (NOK) 1994 to 2003. His vast knowledge and his worldly and smart manner have helped to make him a prominent and i
Since the day Berlin began its endeavour to win the bid to host the World Championships in Athletics in 2009, the real,- BERLIN MARATHON has also been actively involved—and the MARATHON itself was one of the strongest factors for the city’s bid.
Ever since the IAAF made the decision in Helsinki in favour of Berlin, numerous topics concerning the World Championships in 2009 have been presented on the website of the MARATHON.
Last month we started our series with an introduction of Heinrich Clausen, the full-time event manager of the Berlin Organising Committee 2009 GmbH (BOC 2009) (which now has its home in the Olympic Stadium).
We now continue our series with Heiner Henze, the treasurer of the German Track and Field Association (DLV) and the honorary head of the BOC 2009.
This interview took place amongst the impressions of euphoria and excitement occurring throughout all social strata during the FIFA Football World Cup 2006 in Germany.
Might the 2006 Footballers’ World Cup serve as an example for the IAAF World Championships in 2009?
With all of their activities for the World Cup, the footballers have set so much into motion that one can only stare in envy - extend congratulations.
The athletics organisers do not need to ‘re-invent the wheel’ for the IAAF World Championships in 2009 —t he footballers have already prepared things for them.
Will the track and field organisers be able to keep up with and take advantage of the opportunities as well as the footballers have been able to?
Heiner Henze addresses these questions in the following interview.
Heiner Henze (65 years old) was General Secretary for the DLV from 1973 to 1989 and for the National Olympic Committee for Germany (NOK) 1994 to 2003. In these leading positions, he contributed to the successes of the first Athletics World Cup in Düsseldorf in 1977, the European Championships in Athletics in Stuttgart in 1986, and numerous European Cup events in Germany.
His vast knowledge and his worldly and smart manner have helped to make him a prominent and internationally renowned expert of the sport. He has functioned as an advisor as well as an organisational and technical delegate for numerous influential international committees of the IAAF, the Association of European National Olympic Committees (EOC), the Student Sport Association (FISU), and the EAA (where he also served as General Secretary).
The Berlin Olympic Stadium is now freshly renovated: compared to the stadium of the World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki in 2005, the stadium is a jewel. Thus, one very important aspect fort the Championships organisers has already been taken care of. The date for the event has long been set—from August 15 – 23, 2009—so things are really ready to roll.
What is going on behind the scenes of the German organisers of the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in 2009?
After Berlin received the bid, numerous formal conditions for the preparation and implementation of the event had to be fulfilled. The content and form of the cooperation between the hosting partners first had to be legally set—between the IAAF and its marketing agency Dentsu who signed an event contract at the time of the bid nomination, the state of Berlin as the host city, and the DLV as the host national track and field association.
Due to reasons of liability, the organising committee first formed a limited company and hired its first paid employees. A master plan was created listing all tasks and a timeline for carrying them out, as well as a business plan for 2005 to 2009, including the personnel planning. The first discussions between IAAF representatives and Dentsu took place to establish the basic concepts.
At the moment we are concentrating on contractually fulfilling the conditions of the bid, such as those regarding the competitions, training, accommodations, transportation, the IAAF congress, ticket sales, marketing of the national sponsoring rights. This also includes the Olympic Stadium, which truly is a beautiful site, but which still must be examined with regard to its suitability for the Championships in 2009.
There are still 3 years and 2 months left until the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin in 2009—a relatively long time, but then again short enough when you think of the Hercules-like work that still lies ahead. The Football World Cup is just getting underway. There really are no other topics being discussed in the general public, in politics, in the media than football and sports in general.
Is this excitement about sports, which has captured the world and the German population, something that the athletics organisers can be happy about? Will athletics be able to create the same ‘sparks’ of excitement—and is it exemplary for the IAAF, the DLV, and Berlin?
I am certain that all of the people involved in athletics in Germany are also feeling the excitement of the Football World Cup in their own country and are closely following the tournament and of course the games of their own team. Football is simply the number one sport in Germany. That is evident at the moment for the representatives in all of the political legislative and executive bodies on federal, state, and local levels, and in the economy. Football is –and not only during a World Cup in one’s own country—a “different world” than that of any other sport.
For the IAAF Championships, the organisers have to deal with “only” one location in Germany, Berlin, to put on the most important international competition for this sport, over 40 events with preliminary and intermediate heats, and the final competitions in “only” 9 two-part, hour-long days of competition. They will create a festive atmosphere for the athletes and the spectators in Berlin. Only similar athletics events can serve as models here, such as previous World Championships, like the Championships in Stuttgart in 1993.
From the viewpoint of the organisers, Berlin 2009 is to spark off the development of athletics worldwide and set German and international athletics and its spectators afire— at least the DLV and its state subsidiaries, especially in Berlin and Brandenburg, are striving for that with all their might.
After numerous unsuccessful attempts, Berlin has now succeeded in winning the bid to host the World Championships in Athletics. Berlin has a great tradition and history in athletics. The DLV was created here in 1898, and the IAAF held its first official congress in Berlin in 1913, when they created the statutes and held the first elections (official constitution). The real-, BERLIN-MARATHON, the Vattenfall BERLIN HALF MARATHON, and the ISTAF are the annual figurehead events in track and field in Berlin and Germany with their world-class results.
Thus, the IAAF and the world of athletics certainly are expecting something special from Berlin and Germany.
Will the DLV be able to fulfil these expectations?
The DLV and its contributors have great experience in putting on large and successful international and European events. It has experienced and proven partners in the Berlin House of Representatives, the mayor and the Senate of Berlin, the track and field associations (especially Berlin’s), and the already mentioned organisers of the traditional international events in Berlin. With combined forces and the already promised support of the Bundestag and the federal government, as well as of the population, the event will be a great success for world athletics, for the hosting city of Berlin and for German track and field.
The DLV excellently mastered the organisation of the European Championships in 1986 and the World Championships in 1993 in Stuttgart, as well as the European Championships in Munich in 2002
Will one be able to take these great experiences and further develop them for Berlin 2009?
As can be seen in the constitution of the BOC 2009 GmbH, the DLV has called upon its internationally experienced and successful organisers to continue to gain knowledge at upcoming international events and to get updated on the most recent organisational and technical demands. In addition, the event is seen as a challenge and opportunity to train and lead new personnel in the areas of organisation and refereeing, who are to then aid in the continued execution of major international events in Berlin beyond 2009.
The European Cross Country Championships in Heringsdorf in 2004 bring back bad memories—even in the neighbouring town on the island, people did not know that the best runners in Europe were gathered there. The local organiser was left “standing alone in the rain.”
Can you rule out that such a situation could be repeated?
As painful as such experiences are, after intensive analysis and appropriate inferences, setbacks can serve to improve one’s work. We have already selected a promotional agency, which also supported us excellently during the bidding process, for 2006. After the Football World Cup winds down, we will start with the appropriate advertising measures and develop them year by year on a national and international level.
The FIFA currently has 207 member associations worldwide—currently 32 associations are playing in Germany at twelve venues. The IAAF has a similarly large number of members—even slightly greater. Athletics is a worldwide sport, and after the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup, the IAAF Championships are the third largest sporting event in the world. Will track and field be able to achieve anywhere near the level of attention that currently exists with the football euphoria (which might often be seen more as hysteria)?
I have already noted that football can only be used limitedly as a gauge for other kinds of sports, including athletics. While the number of member associations is similar, if you take the number of countries where the television rights are sold and the number of spectators watching on TV, the IAAF Championships will likely lag far behind football.
The number of spectators and general interest has to be realistically brought down to the level of the different kind of event as I described earlier. All in all, the athletics event will do pretty well.
André Heller was not permitted to celebrate the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium—could he be an option for the IAAF/DLV for the opening ceremony, assuming there are respective sponsors? There are certainly enough well prepared (and disappointed) volunteers left in Berlin! !
The FIFA and the organisers must have had good reasons not to carry out the planned show. We have decided to have a commensurate, lively, and short opening ceremony before the first competitions.
Of course we would also be happy to gain many volunteers for our event in 2009.
In Berlin there is the football fan mile on the Straße des 17. Juni – Berlin’s boulevard is completely closed for about 6 weeks, adidas has built an arena for 10,000 spectators in front of the Reichstag, and between the Federal Chancellery and the Paul Löbe House there is a “ Bundestag Arena”, an informational arena from the German Bundestag.
As a Berlin event organiser, we are rubbing our eyes in wonder—either the Berlin administrators have finally been softened by years of permanent pressure from the real.- BERLIN MARATHON – or finally the view is growing in the minds of the bureaucrats that sport is more than an “important side” but rather a world event that is to be supported. Will the DLV and the IAAF stake the same claims on the city—with similarly spectacular results as with football?
Of course the city of Berlin will be integrated into the athletics arena during the 2009 Championships. If we are successful in convincing the IAAF to carry out the marathon and walking races on the streets of the city centre, the start will be made. Further steps will follow. When the time comes, we will remind the Berlin Senate administration and the German Bundestag about their contributions to the Football World Cup in 2006. One important way of integrating the spectators into the event will be a public “marketplace” that will be located in front of the stadium.
There is then also naturally the question of the 2009 Championship’s logo, specialty stamps, coins, mascot (like Goleo for the Football World Cup 2006), the motto (like “Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden” — “A Time to Make Friends”), the cooperation with the government and chancellor, the ministries, embassies, and political parties. Is that a topic of discussion for the organising committee—or is a formal kind of automatic procedure followed here for these important parts of the supporting programme, as there are constantly world championships of varying importance here in Germany?
World championships in Germany—regardless for which sport—are always an important topic for those circles involved. That does now preclude, however, that each organising committee discusses its own specific challenges with the responsible parties and defines the necessary degree of cooperation.
Discussions with the Bundestag, the federal parties, and federal government have been arranged and will be pursued intensively following the Football World Cup.
The emblem is already going through the process of international trademarking. It will be announced publicly this fall. The specialty stamps are still a matter of negotiation with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe [a foundation supporting high-performance sport in Germany], which has the special rights for sport motives which are supported by athletics.
The mascot and motto will be developed and presented in a timely manner.
Franz Beckenbauer – the football star from Munich – is practically the German “deputy foreign minister” at the moment, with unbelievable popularity. We (athletics people) are missing such a man or woman as a world ambassador for our sport. Have you taken any such “foreign policy” activities into consideration in order to bring the “world of athletics” to Berlin—aside from the formal invitations from the IAAF?
In Berlin, for instance, the ambassadors of all accredited nations were included in the promotional activities of the Football World Cup.
Notwithstanding my high esteem for Beckenbauer and all he has done for German football and the 2006 World Cup and his truly unbelievable popularity, one should still keep sport and politics separate. During the bidding process, Berlin had already worked well with athletic ambassadors and world-famous track and field athletes. The cooperation with Heike Drechsler, Frankie Fredericks, and others will be continued.
In the political arena, in cooperation with the foreign ministry, the ambassadors of the participating countries will of course be involved in the promotional activities for the 2009 Championships at the proper time in the proper manner.
German athletics has seen better times. The DLV showed their colours at the last European Championships, World Championships, and Olympic Games with their total absence in numerous disciplines due to a lack of sufficient athletic performances—or the national norms were set higher than those by the IAAF or EAA. They did not want to be humiliated in public or in the media. As one of the largest and most important athletics associations in the world, the DLV did not do the host countries or their own athletes any favours by not participating. What does the DLV plan on doing in order to guarantee that the spectators in the stadiums and at home in front of their televisions will be able to watch German athletes participate in all disciplines here in Berlin?
It simply cannot be that the marathon World Championship will take place in Berlin in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators and there are not any German runners at the start, as was the case in Athens in 2004 and in Helsinki in 2005.
One can easily argue about the national criteria for participation in international or Olympic competitions. Indeed, the DLV does not make it simple. The athletic criteria are determined and voted upon together with spokespersons and representatives of the athletes and trainers. It is true without a doubt that these criteria are sometimes difficult to achieve for our athletes with their current performance levels. But is it really good PR for the association or for Germany if at the Championships or at the Olympics our athletes are eliminated early in the prelims or “lag behind” in the marathon? Do we really have to participate in every discipline?
Of course the DLV will make greater efforts to participate with more German athletes in Berlin in 2009 — appropriate programmes are already being developed. The Berlin Track and Field Association has created a support programme for its top athletes. The German athletics organisers will do everything in their power to not only get as many participants as possible to the starting blocks in Berlin, but to also use Berlin 2009 as a springboard and motivation for the future development of elite and popular running, and to increase the membership in the sport clubs with athletics programmes.
Germany puts on top running events with shining performances, but the German runners are currently (unfortunately) only third class. At the latest upon the awarding of the Championships to Berlin in Helsinki in 2004, there ought to have been activity on the part of the association to combat this discrepancy. What did they do—or was anything done at all?
That is a question for the DLV, the clubs, the trainers, and finally, the athletes to answer. The DLV—as mentioned earlier—has geared all of its support for the upcoming years for better performances in Berlin 2009. However, without the involvement of the clubs, trainers, and finally the athletes, this will not succeed. Everyone today knows how hard and how long the path is from the U19 cadre via the U 23 to becoming a world-class athlete. One cannot expect wonders.
The 2009 Championships in Berlin are supposed to enthuse the youth for athletics and draw them back to the clubs long before the event. After the Championships, German athletics has to be able to achieve the same successful significance that it once had.
The football clubs in Germany are already demonstrating an increase in their already high membership due to the World Cup. What is the DLV contemplating in order to get the regional associations and clubs to join their boat and to make the World Championships in 2009 a “group effort”?
The consultations in the boards of the DLV and the regional associations are in motion. I have already mentioned the direction being taken.
German Road Races (GRR), the association of the largest German running event organisers, and German Meetings (GM), the association of the German sport festival organisers, have already gotten together to jointly promote the 2009 World Championships. Is that in accordance to your intentions, and would you also support it?
That is exactly the kind of initial ignition that we need for the “2009 championship fire.”
We would gladly work together with both associations to spread the flames into the clubs and population. Another line of attack should be the schools.
Does the DLV have any concepts for motivating the population to move from a passive spectator role (as with football) into an active “join in” role? If so, which?
By way of exception, I see not only the comparability between football and athletics here, but also a slight advantage for athletics. In both cases, the competitions are suitable not only for spectating.
One can “join in” as part of the supporting programme, and track and field offers good opportunities for that—for example, with races to the Championships in Berlin from every direction of the country, planned public road races on the official courses, or possibly with stadium competitions for seniors.
Are there any running activities planned by the association as preliminary promotion (in the cities and towns via the clubs and regional associations) in order to make the marathon events as attractive as possible for the spectators? Do the suggestions to the IAAF by the BERLIN MARATHON to organise the marathon and walking disciplines within the Berlin city centre with the start and finish at the Brandenburg Gate have any chances for implementation?
The road races within the framework of the 2009 Championships offer an excellent opportunity to take athletics outside of the stadium and into the city, addressing an even larger range of spectators beyond the stadium. The BOC and the DLV are working hard on this concept, and we are pleased to have a strong partner on our side with the BERLIN MARATHON vis-à-vis the IAAF, not only for the promotion of the event, but also for its organisational implementation.
So far the IAAF representatives have reacted very positively to our ideas.
The running scene in Germany will play an important part in promoting the 2009 World Championships. We are considering a range of running events that will bring many runners—active and passive—to Berlin.
The same question goes for the suggestion to incorporate open races for the youth and general population before marathon championships. Is this topic or the implementation thereof being officially discussed?
A World Championship marathon is different in a variety of ways from an event like the BERLIN MARATHON—for instance with regard to the number of participants. Nonetheless, there will be numerous opportunities to use the championship course for events in the supporting programme. We are happy to be able to examine these possibilities with the expert support of the organisers of the BERLIN MARATHON.
The budget for the BOC is a tiny fraction of the budget for the Football World Cup. This naturally limits the possibilities for promoting the 2009 World Championships. But as I have already mentioned, the schools will pose a special emphasis for the DLV over the next few years. The youth committee for the DLV is already working in close cooperation with the ministries of culture, in order to maintain and, when possible, further enhance the importance of athletics in school sport.
Currently, we are planning together how to increase this activity according to the goals for the 2009 Championships in Berlin.
The number of books entering the market during the Football World Cup is immense, the newspapers and magazines are rolling in special editions, there is no notable museum in Berlin or in Germany that does not deal with the World Cup in some sort of manner. Politics and the parties, the economy, art and literature, music, film, the universities, science and research, medicine, the churches, and the media with its papers and television, have gotten completely aboard the worldwide phenomenon of football. Sport in general can be proud of its importance.
Will athletics be able to evoke a similar response in three years with its ancient and historical triad of running, jumping, and throwing? Is the association, with its professional staff—and with its volunteers—even capable of doing so, or should they draw upon a “brain trust of service providers” or a separate team of experts to do so?
The DFB did not single-handedly create this avalanche of the World Cup success. Are there any agreements between the DFB and the DLV in order to create synergies—an if not, would it not make sense to create them? Are there any ideas on how to also get the named institutions involved in the track and field event—and if so, which?
Through the mobilisation of all strata of society, football has achieved amazing things. But as I made clear at the start: track and field is not football. We have to set our own standards, which have to be oriented toward similar events in athletics. In doing so we will do our best to achieve all that is possible and to include all parties willing to cooperate, especially the senate administration in Berlin and the federal government.
There have been first contacts between the organising committee and the DFB, especially in Berlin. Whenever possible, we will learn from their experiences from this year and compare them with our own planning. We will utilise a good mix of experienced colleagues from athletics with full-time employees and volunteers from the DLV, its regional associations, and clubs. When necessary, competent service providers will complement our work.
Does the DLV have a “Cultural Foundation” like the DFB has? Together with the federal government, this institution was responsible for initiating numerous art events, ranging from the top exhibit at the Martin Gropius Building in Berlin with artists from around the world to the football exhibit at the Chancellery. There is the federal government’s excellent cultural programme “Art and Culture Programme of the Federal Government for the FIFA World Cup 2006”—in cooperation with the organising committee of the FIFA World Cup. Can something like that be created for athletics?
Unfortunately our application to have special coins commemorating the 2009 World Championships has already been declined by the federal treasury. Thus, no extra funds for the creation of such a foundation are available from the sale of coins. Independent thereof, we will create a cultural supporting programme together with the state of Berlin, which might have a similar significance reminiscent of earlier athletics World Championships.
The Japanese massively promoted their World Championships in Athletics in Osaka in 2007 at the Championships in Helsinki in 2005. With the DLV be promoting the World Championships in Germany as actively in Osaka?
Of course the BOC, the DLV and the state of Berlin will take advantage of the unique opportunity of the prior World Championships in order to present and intensively promote the 2009 World Championships.
The European Championships in Athletics will take place in Gothenborg in August 2006. With the DLV be making use of this event as a springboard for the future by preparing those German athletes for Osaka in 2007 and Peking in 2008, to then go on to become the national heroes in Berlin in 2009 who will draw the spectators into the stadium?
That is the basis for the DLV’s support for an increase in performance. We are crossing our fingers that all of the athletes who come into question will be healthy and ready to perform in Berlin in 2009.
Due to the World Championships in our own country—and the great opportunities that they provide—is not a change in attitude necessary from those who have been in charge (like Jürgen Klinsmann provided for the DFB) – in order to enthuse and motivate the athletes and trainers with a breath of fresh air—regardless of the results that Jürgen Klinsmann produces on July 9 – or earlier?
I think there is a difference between football, where a team has to be melded together, and athletics, where a bunch of individualists, both athletes and trainers, have to be motivated with the proper training programmes. The DLV is well equipped in that respect.
Mr. Henze, we would like to thank you for this extensive interview.
The questions were posed before the first game of the
Football World Cup on June 9, 2006 in Munich.
Horst Milde conducted the interview.
Part 1 of our serie to announce 12. IAAF World Championships of Athletics Berlin 2009-
„We want to present athletics in Berlin as young, attractive and dynamic“
"I am convinced that we are able to promote a similar enthusiasm for the IAAF Worldchampionships in Athletics as we are now experiencing for the soccer world cup".
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