Svein Arne Hansen remembered

President Svein Arne Hansen touched many lives and will be sadly missed by his many friends in the world of athletics and beyond.

This page contains some of the many messages of condolences received and seen by European Athletics.

Please feel free to add your tribute below


Lord Sebastian Coe,
President, World Athletics


“Today I lost one of my closest friends. He gave me my first big international break in athletics in 1979. He was a game changer in our sport, a proud family man and an effective and wise leader who helped generations of athletes fulfill their dreams."


Dobromir Karamarinov,
Vice President,
European Athletics


"Saddened beyond belief that my great friend & mentor the @EuroAthletics President Svein Arne Hansen has gone to his final resting place. I will remember his advice for ever and look to him for inspiration as I try to build on his strong legacy. A man who ran a true race RIP."


Yvonne Mullins

Executive Director, OAA

It is with a heavy heart that we write to you today.  We are all so very sad to hear of the passing of Svein Arne.

A great man who was such an incredible contributor to our sport.  We know he will be missed by all of his colleagues, but more than that, he will be missed by his family and friends to which he was so much more than an Athletics Super Hero. 

For you this will be a huge personal and professional loss.  I hope you are going okay and that you find the strength the get through this difficult time.

Svein Arne was a great friend to Oceania Athletics and we will miss his good counsel and support but most of all we will miss his friendship.  On behalf of all of us at Oceania Athletics we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends and everyone at the European Athletics Association.​



Hélio Marinho Gesta de Melo,

President, South American Athletics Confederation


The South American Athletics Confederation is deeply saddened to learn that Mr. Svein Arne Hansen, President of European Athletics, has passed away earlier today. Svein Arne was a sports enthusiast, a passionate stamp collector and a great friend of South American Athletics. 


The Presidency of CONSUDATLE sends condolences to Svein Arne’s family, friends and colleagues and decrees Official Mourning in South American Athletics for a period of three (3) days.


Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, President, Confederation of African Athletics


It is with great emotion, sadness and deep sorrow that I was informed on Saturday, June 20th

2020 of the passing of our friend and colleague, Mr. Svein Arne Hansen, President of the European athletics association.


In this painful circumstance, I would like, on my behalf and that of the entire family of African athletics, to extend our sincerest condolences to you as one of his closest colleagues, to your staff at the European Athletics association head office and to the family of late Mr. Hansen.


Svein Arne Hansen served the Norwegian and European athletics movement, as well as World athletics at large, with passion and commitment. We are all proud of his achievements and would therefore like to wish his family, friends and colleagues a lot of courage and strength during this difficult time of bereavement.

May his soul rest in perfect peace.


Athletics NACAC


"Svein-Arne Hansen’s contribution to the sport of track and field athletics is immeasurable. He was a true icon of the sport and the entire global community are already reflecting on the significance of his loss to the sport."

"He shared his ideas on the development of athletics and his experience with the humility characteristic of great man, readily available at all times."



European Olympic Committee



The EOC is deeply saddened by the loss of @EuroAthletics Svein Arne Hansen. The architect of the modern concept of athletics - the Dynamic New Athletics (DNA) – he was strongly committed to make it a success at the 2nd European Games @Minsk2019BY

He will be greatly missed.



European Championships Management

ECM is deeply saddened by the death of Svein Arne Hansen, President of European Athletics and Chair of the European Championships 2022 Board.

European sport has lost an inspirational leader who ECM staff had the honour and privilege to have known. Svein Arne brought an incredible energy, passion and humour to everything he did and was a formidable force for positive change in the world of sport.  His friendly, approachable and pragmatic approach was always focused on what was best for the athletes and for his sport. ECM sends its deepest condolences to the Hansen family and friends at this sad time.”


Noel Curran, Director General, European Broadcasting Union


On behalf myself and all the Members of the European Broadcasting Union, please accept our sincere condolences on the loss of your esteemed President Svein Arne Hansen. 

Many friends here in Geneva and indeed across Europe share your grief during these painful moments. 


He leaves a huge legacy of achievement behind him. His passion, integrity, intellect and energy will be sorely missed. We were all incredibly fond of him. 


Our thoughts are with you at this sad time. Please pass on our condolences to his family who must be devastated by this tragic turn of events. 

Best regards 


Wang Nan, World Athletics Council Member, VP of Chinese AA


It was really sad to learn the passing of our beloved colleague Svein. As a new member of WA Council, I very much respect his passion, devotion and dedications to our sport. His kindness, smiles and hospitality gave me deep impression as I was a guest to EA Congress in Prague. And I was hoping to receive him in Nanjing World Indoor Championships in last March as a host which now became a deep regret due to the epidemic. It was so tearful to lose a respected senior friend like him. 


My sincere condolences to the European athletics family as well as his beloved family. The athletics family will always remember and cherish his efforts and contributions to our sport. May his soul RIP. 


Cherry Alexander OBE, Executive Board Member, European Athletics


"So sad to hear of the passing of my big boss the President of @EuroAthletics Svein Arne Hansen....he paved the way for me to be only the 2nd female Vice President of EA and was always so supportive & full of encouragement & advice... I and the sport will miss him so much RIP"




Libor Varhaník, Executive Board Member, European Athletics


"So sad to have lost my great friend & mentor Svein Arne Hansen today. A true leader of integrity & an athletes man to the core he made a tremendous contribution to our sport which we as the next generation owe him to continue. He will be missed by everyone he smiled at RIP"



Sylvia Barlag, World Athletics Council Member


It is difficult to find words that describe my sadness upon the loss of Svein Arne. We all feared this moment where we would lose the driving power of someone who turned his passion for athletics in tangible change and progress. Now it is there. My special thoughts are with his family, children and grandchildren, of whom he would always talk with love and pride.


I started working with Svein Arne in 2007 as European Athletics Council Member and I am still grateful for the support he gave and his trust in the initiatives we started back then. His experience and vision helped us tread different pathways, also after he came back as President of European Athletics in 2015.  While sharing my condolences with you and knowing he will be dearly missed, I do trust that Svein Arne prepared the leadership of European Athletics to keeping the ship steady and to steer it through the present COVID-19 crisis into safe waters. My wish to all of you in this sad time is that the whole office team and Council, can keep his legacy alive.



Nawaf Bin Mohammed Al Saud, Vice President, World Athletics


On the occasion of the sad passing away of the late president of European Athletics Federation Mr. Svein Arne Hansen, we are expressing herewith our deepest condolence and sincerest sympathy.

It is a very gloomy moment for everybody at the EAF family and elsewhere in global sport organizations.

while we pray for the Almighty God to bless the soul of our beloved demise, we trust your administration will hold, tightly and professionally the torch of success to march forward towards achieving more and more accomplishments.



Katerina Stefanidi



So sad to hear of the passing of president of @EuroAthletics Svein Arne Hansen. He was always so encouraging and supporting. I will always remember him smiling and joking around. RIP





Dafne Schippers



R.I.P. @SvenPres The world of track and field will miss you and your passion, enthusiasm and dedication for the sport.


Steve Backley OBE



Saddened to hear of the loss of a good friend Svein Arne Hansen - curator of the Bislett Games and the Dream mile. @EuroAthletics President. A big character from the old school of our sport. RIP



Jo Pavey



Really saddened by this news. Svein was a great character & so passionate about our sport. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him & is a huge loss to our sport. My thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP



Colin R Jackson



Deeply saddened to hear about the death of Svein Arne Hansen.. He was so much part of the sport whilst I was competing in athletics. RIP



Christian Taylor



Saddened to receive the news about @SvenPres. He will be missed, deeply. I am blessed to have made such a great friend in this sport and will cherish every moment we shared. My condolence to his family. Thank you for your leadership, support, and positivity. #godblessyou 




Donna Fraser OLY


"@EuroAthletics I'm deeply saddened to hear the loss of Svein... I'm forever grateful for his wit and friendship. I and the sport will miss him dearly. RIP Svein Arne Hansen"




Philippe Vande Weyer, Olympic Journalist


"Svein Arne Hansen était un vrai amoureux de l’athlétisme et adorait la proximité avec les athlètes (ici avec Nafi Thiam, à Götzis, en 2017). #RIP"


Fatih Çintimar, European Athletics Council Member


"Saddened beyond belief that my great friend & mentor the @EuroAthletics President Svein Arne Hansen has gone to his final resting place. I will remember his advice for ever and look to him for inspiration as I try to build on his strong legacy. A man who ran a true race RIP"




Christoph Seiler


"@EuroAthletics and the whole Athletics Family lost a great leader - RIP Svein Arne Hansen. Sincere condolences on behalf of @SwissAthletics"




Milorad Vuletić, Gojko Banjević and Milan Madžgalj, Athletics Federation of Montenegro


We were sincerely saddened by the news that Sven Arne Hansen, an honored athletic worker and leader, a man with a big heart, a friend, an honest and welcome guest, had left us forever.


Athletic representatives will gladly remember the numerous encounters with him. He was always ready to help, support, encourage and with a dose of charm which have only exceptional people possess.


Svein Arne deserved to live permanently in the memories of every true fan of athletics and sports in general. Today, when we share with you moments of sadness due to the permanent parting from our friend in the name of the Athletics Federation of Montenegro, Montenegrin athletes and athletic workers, we send you and his family  most sincere condolences.



Duan Shijie, President, Chinese Athletics Association

We are deeply saddened to hear the passing of our old and beloved friend Svein Arne Hansen. On behalf of the Chinese Athletics Association, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Svein Arne's family and the European Athletic Association. His passing is a great loss to the global athletics family, but his love, dedication and diligence for athletics cause will be forever remembered by the us all. Our hearts are with Mr. Hansen’s family. 


May his soul rest in peace.




Harri Aalto, CEO, Sami Itani, President, Finnish Athletics Antti Pihlakoski, Council Member, Finnish Athletics World and European Athletics


It is a tragic news that we lost our beloved colleague, great sports lover and dear friend Svein Arne - the Real Viking. We wish to express our deepest condolences to his family and to European and World Athletics for this enormous loss.


Svein Arne was a greatly respected man whose noteworthy work for athletics cannot even be measured. With his passion, enthusiasm, and dedication he left an unforgettable mark in athletics and his efforts will be well cherished. We Finns loved also his sense of humour.

Please, accept our sincerest sympathies during this period of mourning that we here present on behalf of Finnish Athletics and his friends in Finland. Svein Arne’s memory will never die.



​Alberto Juantorena Danger, World Athletics Council Member, President, Cuban Athletics Federation


Our personal and the whole family of Cuban Athletics condolences...


We are very sorry for the loss of a great friend from Cuba and mine since my time as an 

active athlete. We accompany his family and friends at this sad time and at the same time ask them to have great strength to overcome in this bitter moment.

With a lot of respect from Cuba.




Swiss Athletics


"Wir haben die traurige Nachricht erhalten, dass Svein Arne Hansen (Präsident von @EuroAthletics) heute in Norwegen gestorben ist. Wir werden ihn für seinen Einsatz für die Leichtathletik in dankbarer Erinnerung behalten."



European Cycling Union


"With sadness we learn of the loss of Svein Arne Hansen, European Athletics President. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends and European Athletics family."



European Gymnastics


"Our condolences to the @EuroAthletics community as they mourn their President Svein Arne Hansen. Rest in peace!"



British Athletics


"We are saddened to hear of the passing of European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen today. All at @Britathletics send condolences to his family, friends and colleagues across the sport."




Jenny Meadows


"Absolutely devastated to hear of the passing of someone that was “one of a kind” - Svein Arne Hansen our @EuroAthletics President. He knew the sport, understood the challenges, was keen to embrace change and appreciated people. We will all miss him so very much"



Veselin Jevrosimovic,  President, Athletics Association of Serbia


"Napustio nas je Svein Arne Hansen, predsednik Evropske Atletske Federacije. Covek koji je mnogo voleo Srbiju i koji nam je pomogao da nasa kraljica sportova ponovo zasija i postane deo evropske i svetske porodice.

Pocivaj u miru nas dobri prijatelju i nek ti je vecna slava.




Česká Atletika


"Ve věku 74 let zemřel prezident @EuroAthletics Svein Arne Hansen. V polovině března letošního roku utrpěl Hansen vážnou cévní mozkovou příhodu a byl hospitalizován v nemocnici. Následkům cévní příhody bohužel po třech měsících podlehl."




European Championships


"European Championships Management is deeply saddened by the death today of Svein Arne Hansen, President of European Athletics and Chair of the European Championships 2022 Board.



Azerbaijan Athletics Federation


"We got news that made sad all our Athletics family. The president of European Athletics Svein Arne Hansen passed away. His role in Athletics and all what he has done for it was priceless.On behalf of our Federation we do share this sorrow and wish him find peace in a better place"



Periklis Iakovakis, European Athletics Council Member 


" So sad to hear the bad news of passing of @EuroAthletics president Svein Arne Hansen. A great sportsperson, friend and leader! My thoughts and wishes to his family at this difficult time."



Dagmar Freitag, Member of European Athletics Governance Commission, Vice-President of Deutscher Leichtathletik-Ver (DLV)

Svein Arne lost his last fight... and we’ve lost a great European representative of athletics. A true leader. And I lost a good and truly reliable friend. A person full of passion, dedication, empathy and a wonderful sense of humour, always seeking improvements for our sports. And for the good of the athletes. Honestly, words can’t express the sorrow I’m still feeling.


The first time I met Svein Arne was many years ago - in Oslo, of course in the famous stadium. Bislett Games in Oslo will never be the same anymore. European Athletics will be different. He will be sadly missed.


This photo shows Svein Arne who handed over the Women’s Leadership Award of European Athletics to me in 2017.



Mike Rowbottom, Inside The Games


Svein Arne Hansen had a gift for communicating. You knew it as soon as you met him. He had passion, and sincerity. He had warmth. He had humour.

In the all too often cold-eyed world of sports politics, contact with Svein Arne was a pleasure. You were speaking to a real person. And the conversation, almost invariably, would end with a chuckle.

I knew him professionally and he was one of the people with whom I most enjoyed dealing. You can’t mistake the inner signals when people walk into a room. With some, the heart sinks. With Svein Arne, always, it lifted.

In a world where leadership and the lack of it stand in ever more stark contrast, Svein Arne was, in his own world, a proper leader. You have only to look at the wealth of warm tributes from colleagues and athletes to know that.

Full article


Alfio Giomi, President,

Federazione Italiana Di Atletica Leggera


I am profoundly grieved by the loss of Svein Arne. Athletics lost an outstanding Leader with vision and passion, a true friend of our Sport. He was a man full of charisma, enthusiasm for life and sense of humour. 


I am grateful for having had the honour of sharing with him part of his path within the European Athletics. Do accept my heartfelt sympathies and the deepest condolences of the whole of the Italian Athletics and please convey to his family our feelings of profound compassion at this time of sadness. 


Svein Arne will be greatly missed, but his memory and legacy will live on, through those who worked with him for the wellbeing of Athletics. This is why I feel that the European Athletics is safe in the hands of a capable and dedicated man like you and I wish you all the best in this challenging time. 


Of course you can always count on FIDAL support. 



Gen. Dahlan Al Hamad,

President, Asian Athletics Association


There are no words that can express how saddened we are to hear about the demise of Mr. Svein Arne Hansen.


He leaves behind a void which cannot be filled. He was loved and respected by all. It would be difficult to measure the impact he had on the many people’s lives he touched, personally and professionally.


On behalf of the Asian Athletic Family, I send my deepest sympathies to his family, European Athletics Family and the World Athletics Family.



Anita Wlodaczyk



RIP @EuroAthletics President Svein Arne Hansen



Rodrigo Domínguez 


Un placer haber compartido una estupenda cena en la que me obligó a no separarme de su lado para practicar su, ya de por sí, buen castellano. Un buen hombre. D.E.P. Svein Arne Hansen.



Octavian Morariu, Rugby Europe President & IOC member 


 I was extremely saddened to learn that European Athletics President, Mr Svein Arne Hansen has passed away. Sven Arne was a man dedicated to the sport movement and a great ambassador and promoter of Athletics. 


His death is undoubtedly a great loss for the sports and Olympic movement. 

Therefore, please accept on my behalf, and on behalf of Rugby Europe members, our most sincere condolences. 


I also would like to express my most sincere condolences to Mr Hansen’s family. 



Aleksandar Boricic, President, European Volleyball Federation 


With profound sorrow we learned of the passing of Svein Arne Hansen, a great sports enthusiast and a passionate stamp collector.


It would be truly impossible to name all that he has done in the world of athletics, willing and able to be where needed and do amazing things for his sport and athletes, regardless in whichever role he occupied.


European Athletics and sport in general lost a gifted and devoted person, a wise man with great knowledge and sports awareness, and above all, extremely cordial, cheerful and full of kindness to others.


On behalf of the European Volleyball Confederation and on my personal behalf, please accept expressions of our most sincere condolences and convey our sincere sympathy to the Hansen family for their great loss.




Yuriy Ganus, Director General, RUSADA


On behalf of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency "RUSADA" and on my own behalf, I express deep condolences on the death of Mr. Svein Arne Hansen. 


We were shocked by this tragic news. For many years of faithful service to sport, he has won the love and respect of colleagues and like-minded people. I was lucky to be personally acquainted with him, and I believe that the death of such a talented person is a great loss for the entire world sports community. 


We sincerely share this common grief. 




Pierce O'Callaghan


A devastating day for athletics with the news that European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen is no longer with us. A man full of integrity who has made a huge contribution to the sport & was so full of fun & life in March has now gone to his final resting place. RIP




Robert Fasulo

Svein Arne was a giant in athletics. Progressive yet humble. A bit irreverent but always focused & professional. The sport & the athletes benefited greatly from his passion & leadership.


As someone who once had a small role in World Athletics, I had the honor and pleasure to work with him. More importantly, I was fortunate to call him a friend. For this, I will always be grateful. He was one of a kind and will be deeply missed.


Rest peacefully dear Svein Arne



Toralf Nilsson, European Athletics Honorary Council Member


"A great leader, personality and good friend to so many in the athletics community has left us today. I am pleased that I had the previlige to work close to Svein Arne Hansen in ⁦@EuroAthletics⁩ Executive Board for four years and I send my sincere condolences to his family."


Raúl Chapado, European Athletics and World Athletics Council Member


Today is a very sad day for European athletics.

@EuroAthletics President Svein Arne Hansen passed away. Our commitment, today more than ever, must be to continue with his Vision, ideas and legacy.

Athletics loses a great man, We lose a great friend.



Atletismo Peruano


"Svein Arne Hansen, presidente de European Athletics, murió este 20 de junio a los 74 años. Hansen había sufrido un derrame cerebral el 15 de marzo por el que fue ingresado de urgencia en el hospital. Las complicaciones derivadas de ese ictus resultaron insalvables para Hansen."


Atletica Italiana


"#atletica il cordoglio dell'Atletica Italiana per la scomparsa del numero 1 della EA @EuroAthletics Svein Arne Hansen

Il presidente FIDAL Giomi: “Un vero amico del nostro sport e del nostro Paese”



Ryszard Stadniuk, Chair, European Rowing Confederation


On behalf of the European Rowing Confederation, I would like to convey my sincere condolences to



Svein-Arne will be sincerely missed by the international sport community and by all

of us in the FISA/European Rowing family.


We would like to reiterate our condolences for your loss. Our thoughts are with your




Jean-Christophe Rolland, President,

Matt Smith, Executive Director, FISA


We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Svein-Arne. On behalf of the World Rowing Federation, FISA, we would like to convey our sincere condolences to you.


Svein-Arne will be sincerely missed by the international sport community and by all of us in the FISA/European Rowing family.


We would like to reiterate our condolences for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and his family.




Jonathan Wyatt, President, World Mountain Running Federation


On behalf of the World Mountain Running Association and the whole mountain running community I would like to pass on our sincerest condolences to you and all at European Athletics at the recent death of Svein Arne Hansen.


Svein Arne was a passionate leader and innovator of our sport in all its many guises, keen to use the influence and reach of European Athletics to help increase health and participation at all levels of the sport as well as support the elite. This was clearly demonstrated by the changes to the European Championship events to further enhance the potential of off track running. 


We are all saddened by recent events, but we also have confidence that the direction being taken by European Athletics will continue under your strong leadership, Dobromir.


My personal condolences to you. It is hard to lose some-one at any time, even more one as young and full of life as Svein-Arne.




Al Guy, Honorary life member EAA

Sincerest sympathies tothe Hansen Family on SveinArne's passing. I have many happy and enjoyable memories of SveinArne dating from his earliest days in Bislett to the Berlin European Championships. His unique style shone a bright light on everything he did. Athletics will be poorer for his passing.



Roger Vanbinst, General Director, Belgian Athletics Federation


The co-presidents and the Belgian Athletics family wishes to express its condolences to the European Athletics Association on the death of its president and to the Hansen family as they bear this loss



Athletic Federation of Turkmenistan


We would like to express to the Family of Mr Svein Arne Hansen, the European Athletics and World Athletics Family our deep feelings about the death of Mr Svein Arne Hansen.


His dedication to his work earned him the respect and love of all who knew him.

Please accept our sincere condolences



Beltramo Massimo, Coach

Forever in our thoughts, thanks for everything Svein.