The recent launch of the European Championships ‘Mark of a Champion’ logo was a cue to contemplate what promises to be a unique festival of sporting entertainment taking place in Scotland in 2018.
Not without good reason was the Commonwealth Games in 2014 described as the best Games ever – or “pure, dead, brilliant” to use the offical description – and the conception of the new European Championships and decision to choose Glasgow as a host city for 6 of the 7 sports means a major multi-sport event is once again on the horizon.
Read on for our 8 reasons to savour the summer of 2018 and the celebration of top-class sport in store!
1. The build-up Often the sporting journey is half the fun as the arrival and that’s never truer when anticipation of a major event gradually builds. So what are the European Championships? In a nutshell the European governing bodies for 7 different sports (athletics, cycling, gymnastics, golf, rowing, swimming and triathlon) got together and decided rather than run their championships separately, it would make much more sense to combine them at the same time to make one multi-sporting event. The result? The European Championships, a celebration of European sport that will take place every 4 years, and which will make its inaugural bow in 2018 between 1st to 12th August and involve some 4,500 athletes aiming for glory in their chosen event.
The 2018 championships will be split between Berlin and Glasgow, with athletics taking place in Germany and the remaining 6 sports coming alive (to the tune of some 3,000 competitors) in Scotland at iconic venues such as the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, The SSE Hydro and Gleneagles. Expect the momentum and excitement around the event to crank up in 2017 with news of the itinerary and ticket sales (of which more below) and to reach fever pitch in 2018 with qualification for teams across the sports being finalised and the venues readying themselves to become the centre of the sporting universe for twelve days in August 2018.
2. Aquatics Encompassing finals across swimming, diving and open water swimming, Tollcross International Swimming Centre and the Royal Commonwealth Pool will share hosting honours with the waters of Loch Lomond. Tollcross is no stranger to hosting world-class swimming and is currently preparing to welcome the British Championships this April (doubling up as the trials for the Olympics in Rio), while the Royal Commonwealth Pool has shown itself to be an ideal venue for diving, none more so than at Glasgow 2014.
Expect GB to feature strongly in the medal table with Ross Murdoch and Hannah Miley among Scottish stars who will be desperate to be part of team representing Great Britain. For both of them it will be a chance to replicate the golden moment they won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 in front of a home crowd.
3. Cycling Variety will be the spice of life for cycling fans as 650 of Europe’s finest cyclings compete for honours
across Track, Road, Mountain Bike and BMX. The four Olympic disciplines will take place at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails and on the streets of Glasgow (the road races) with a new Olympic standard BMX track to be built in the Knightswood area of the city.
The road race will offer fans a great opportunity to watch stars of world cycling for free, while the noise levels in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome are sure to be deafening. The indoor velodrome is the perfect stage for the big occasion and is sure to host more memorable moments to match those in 2014, such as when when Neil Fachie & Craig MacLean (pictured) secured a golden double at Glasgow 2014.
4. Gymnastics No-one who was at the Hydro last November to witness the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships is likely to forget it in a hurry. Seeing is believing and artistic gymnastics in the flesh is guaranteed to thrill. With the best men and women on the continent pushing themselves to the limit of their physical powers, plenty of jaw-dropping action for spectators will be guaranteed at the European Championships as humans (literally) fly.
The competition will feature a Men’s and Women’s Artistic Championships, with around 600 athletes competing in Glasgow over six days. GB has never been stronger at gymnastics and the men’s team – for whom Scotland’s Daniel Purvis will be aiming to appear after fond memories of Glasgow 2014 when he struck gold on the parallel bars to compliment a bronze on the men’s rings – will provide formidable opposition including in their ranks the new star of British gymnastics, world champion Max Whitlock. Likewise expect the GB women’s team (pictured in action on the beam at the Hydro) are sure to push hard for medals with 18-year-old star Claudia Fragapane leading the way.
5. Golf New ground will be broken at Gleneagles, the scene of so many famous golfing moments down the years, with three brand new European Golf Team Championships making their bow. 5 days of competition will feature the top 16 European nations taking part in a female, male and mixed team competition. Each nation will have two male and two female athletes in their team, meaning a total of 64 golfers will be in pursuit of medals across the three competitions. Part of a vision to encourage participation by European nations the team nature of the event is destined to bring a Ryder Cup feel to proceedings (hosted of course by Gleneagles in 2014 when Team Europe side truimphed by 16 1/2 points to 11 1/2 points against Team USA) and should make for a great live spectator experience on the hallowed fairways in Perthshire.[mediatank id=”1955″ alignment=”inlineright”/]
6. Rowing Strathclyde Country Park in North Lanarkshire will welcome 600 rowers for the European Rowing Championships. Steeped in history having first taken place in 1893, the 2018 edition of the European Rowing Championships will consist of 17 medal events across 3 days of competition with 600 athletes due to take part. The banks of the Strathclyde Loch are no stranger to championship rowing, having hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1986, as well as the World Under-23 Championships in 2007. For a taster of what to expect by way of atmosphere watch this video of one of Glasgow’s favourite daughters – a certain Katherine Grainger – racing to rowing history together with her crew-mate Anne Watkins at the 2012 Olympics.
7. Triathlon This multi-sport event featuring swimming, cycling and running makes a return to Strathclyde Country Park where it featured during Glasgow 2014. On that occasion the 2012 Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee (pictured) claimed another major championship gold with his brother Jonathan in second and Scotland’s David McNamee in seventh, while England’s Jodie Stimpson took the honours in the women’s race. A crowd favourite the combination of a 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run means there’s plenty of opportunity to watch the athletes out on the course.
8. The memories Speak to anyone who witnessed an event at Glasgow 2014, and they’ll be likely to be regale you with stories of the unique experience generated by top-class sport taking place as part of a sporting festival in a city that loves its sport. The same will be true of the European Championships and like the Commonwealth games it’s likely to be a generation before it comes around again. More than 1 billion people are expected to watch the event on television, however nothing will beat experience of watching it in the flesh for enjoyment and atmosphere: our advice is make sure you prepare to savour it!
So put the dates in your diary. 1st to 12th August 2018. The European Championships are coming and more information about the sports and the venues can be viewed via the official website.
Tickets are due to go on sale next (2017) spring with further announcements due in the coming months. In the meantime we’ll be profiling top-class action across all 7 sports taking place on Scottish soil in the long lead up to 2018. For the latest news on both make sure you subscribe to our free weekly newsletter, and check out our Events! page for previews of an A to Z of sporting action coming up near you.