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

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Daniel Wessfeldt

It is with great sadness that I have lost one of my oldest friends from International athletics. Bislett Games was one of the first international meetings I visited outside of Sweden and Svein-Arne always took good care of me and my athletes.


I have many unforgettable memories together with Svein-Arne from all around the world. Here a picture from 1991 when we were in Tokyo for the World Championships. Yes it was a very good trip.

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Daniel Pereira, European Athletics

 June 2015, when we first met, in Lisbon, Portugal. We will all miss you, dear President, dear Svein... Até sempre...



Katharine Merry, British Athletics

RIP Svein Arne. Taken too soon. I will miss our conversations and laughter together. Your smile and presence will be missed by many. X




Nic Bideau, Melbourne Track Club

One of the highlights of coming to Oslo for the Bislett Games was always a chat with Svein Arne Hansen. No matter how busy, he always had time for a few words. And then at any other time we would meet Svein in the athletics world, his humor, knowledge of the sport and desire to make our sport better always made him good company.


Svein was a great friend of one of the most important people to Australian athletes over the last 30 years, Maurie Plant, who we also lost this year. Hopefully there is another life and they are together again.



Philippe Vande Weyer, Le Soir, Brussels

Svein Arne was a true gentleman who had a genuine love for athletics and the athletes. For us, journalists, it was always a pleasure to share some thoughts with him as he was always accessible and interested. A I said on a tweet last week, some sport administrators are using the sport for personal profit and some sport administrators, like Svein Arne Hansen, are serving the sport for general interest. He will be missed. Terribly. I'm sending all my condolences to his family.



Andre Giraud, President

French Athletics Federation

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Svein Arne. In these difficult times, all our thoughts are with his family and friends to whom we send our sincere condolences.


Our Athletics family has lost a great servant of our sport and a friend.



Belén Vallenilla Gutiérrez, Embassador, ONu

Mis profundas condolencias a la familia de Svein Arne Hannsen y a su familia en el deporte que tanto amo y trabajó con absoluta entrega y vocación. Yo perdí a un amigo que salvo mi vida. Elevarse mis oraciones por su eterno descanso y paz a su familia. Se te extrañará mucho.




Chris Turner, World Athletics

Privileged to have known and worked with SAH for more than 30 years. A genuine man of great humour, laughter, and an endless passion for our sport. So many stories. Svein Arne was athletics to his core. He will be so sadly missed. I will never forget our last meal together in Minsk in late February.


Rest in peace.



Marton Gyulai, European Athletics

It is time to say goodbye to one of the greatest leaders in the world of sport I have ever had the privilege of knowing and working with. Svein Arne you will not be forgotten, but will be much missed.


#AMomentForSveinArne #RIP

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Seamus Carey, The #Athleticos


Thank you for being an advocate of athletes and fans and for all you did for the great sport of athletics.


You will not be forgotten.


May you rest in peace.




Ieva Blusina, Latvian Athletics Association

On behalf of Latvian Athletics association, we express deep condolences on the death of Mr. Svein Arne Hansen. His kind face remains forever in our image because someone so special can never be forgotten.




Raúl Chapado, Spanish Athletics Federation

Today is the day you will be laid to rest. Everything happens for a reason, even if we may not agree. It's okay to miss you, It's okay to cry. Just know I'll never forget you. This isn't a permanent goodbye.


Sometimes I sit and wonder If you are standing by my side, Giving me the courage, To carry on with pride. I'll hold onto our memories, until this life is done. In my heart is where I'll store them, Just promise to look after us, and if you can, save a spot up there for ours. The thought of never meeting you again brings tears to my eyes, And even more so, because all of this was such a surprise. Sometimes it's not meant for us to understand.


So as we sit here and mourn the loss of a beloved friend, We have to keep telling ourselves that we will meet again.



Rumen Rangelov

Bulgarian Athletics Federation


Great man and friend with big big heart!!!!


Rest in peace dear Svein!!!




Sirje Lippe

Estonian Athletic Association


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


Forever in our thoughts, thanks for everything Svein Arne.

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Miklos Gyulai

Hungarian Athletics


Dear Friend! Thank you for everything, you did for Hungarian athletics, what you did for us personally! The cold beer, the fish soup and the goulash will always be on the table in Budapest, at Lake Balaton...


Rest in peace!



PN Turku, Paavo Nurmi Games, Turku, Finland


To the Family of President Svein Arne Hansen's family the deepest condolences from the Paavo Nurmi Games and Festival and the whole Paavo Nurmi family in Finland. It has been an honor to have the opportunity to know Svein Arne and to work with him. Svein Arne was tough and demanding and at the same time kind and supportive - a warm and rare person with a biggest athletics heart there is. So many good memories of Svein Arne.


Good friends here in Finland will forever remember Svein Arne - the great Norwegian.



Karin Grute Movin

Executive Board Member, European Athletics


So sad Svein Arne has lost his battle. He was a great leader and a visionary dedicated to athletics. A charismatic personality, well-known impatience and always striving to get things done. Working with him has been very rewarding and evolving. A work relationship that also includes a great personal friendship. He has inspired us to change and develop athletics, we have to work hard to continue what he has initiated. It will be empty after Svein Arne.


I will miss him.




Hamish Adams, Athletics Ireland

On behalf of all the members of Athletics Ireland we send our condolences to the European Athletics family on the passing of our President Svein Arne.


Your character, wit and engaging personality will be missed by us all RIP.



Tanja Seifert,

Tanja Seifert Event Management


R.I.P. Svein Arne




Slobodan Brankovic

Serbian Athletics Federation


Rest in peace our friend Svein! Thank you for everything you did.




Anatolie Balan, The Athletics Federation of Republic of Moldova

I'm conveying my and the Moldovan athletics community's deep condolences to the family of Svein Arne Hansen for their loss. It is indeed a loss for the European Athletics and the World Athletics for we are now one less committed lover, promoter and leader of our beloved sport. May he rest in Peace and may we remember all the good things he has done over the years!





Jónas Egilsson

FRÍ, AASSE & European Athletics


I bid a friend for over 20 years a farewell. Like so many other in the field of athletics and elsewhere I miss him and the sport will miss him dearly. His contribution, enthusiasm, energy and dedication to the progress of the sport will not so easily be matched. I was an honor working with him on both Nordic and European platforms. His contribution to the Athletic Championships of Small States was crucial. His wittiness was unmatched and yes, “Eg er fullur” Svein Arne of remorse and good memories. Godspeed my friend.



Luciano Barra, Honorary Member, European Athletics


I had met Svein Arne in the mid 70s. I was at the house of his mentor and previous leader of the Bislett Games to tast the famous strawberries. Then at the beginning on the 80s with him on the Working Group set by the IAAF to start the Mobil Grand Prix Series. It was under the strong leadership of Ollan Cassell and with the essential support of persons like Alex Gilady, Jon Wigley and Penny Belcham that the system finally started.


There Svein Arne demonstrated his commitment and dedication to the idea. Then in my 20 years in the EA I had the possibility to liaise with him on many occasions. He was elected to the Presidency of the EA 4 years later and he should have been. In only five years he showed to the international sport a model of leaderships that is not known. Divide the strategic aspect form the daily routine. It should be never forgotten. R.I.P.




Georgina Drumm, President, Athletics Ireland


It will be hard to imagine European Athletics without Svein Arne Hanson. His legacy will live on; he has left strong foot prints for all to follow. His large personality, enthusiasm and love of life and our sport will be greatly missed most especially by his family and all who had the good fortune to know him.


Go bhfanfaidh se i suaimhneas = May he Rest In Peace..



Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, IOC Member

I'm deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Svein Arne Hansen, former President of the European Athletics. His passing is a great loss to all those who knew him and all those who had the privilege of working with him over his long and decorated career. His immense contribution as President of the European Athletics will be his lasting legacy and his significant contribution to the development of Athletics around the world will continue to live in the memory of all of us. I wish to convey my deepest sympathy and share in this great loss with his family, friends, the European Athletics and those grief-stricken by his passing. My prayers are with his family at this difficult time. 



Niels Groen, Royal Dutch Athletics Federation

A well respected leader. Last time we met was right after the victory of Karsten Warholm in Doha. His enthusiasum was so great to see. He will be missed!




De aller beste minner fra mange års godt samarbeid - og alt du betydde for norsk og internasjonal friidrett og idrett.



Jee Isram, World Athletics


R.I.P my dear friend Svein.




Nigel Bramley, Athletics photographer


One of the good guys in our sport. You will be very much missed for what you have done and more importantly the way that you did it. There will soon be an athletic meeting in heaven!

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Timothy Hutchings, Hutchings Media Limited

Thanks for everything you've done Svein. Athletics in Europe is in a much stronger state than when you took charge & I sense an air of optimism woven through the sport in our continent, much of it inspired by your disarmingly upbeat & bubbly personality. It's an optimism born of a willingness to cooperate, one European federation with another, and further afield, one Area Federation with another. You leave a tremendously strong legacy and its beholden on all of us in the sport, to nurture and develop the progressions you've instigated.




Špela Hus, European Athletics Young Leaders Community


The European Athletics Young Leaders community extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Svein Arne Hansen at his passing. Svein Arne was a big supporter of the Young Leaders community and a great inspiration to us all. We were fortunate enough to always be able to host him at the Young Leaders forums. He was a witty and insightful speaker with incredible range of experience and knowledge to share.




Ron Russell, RKR-photos

Having met Svein only a couple of times I was impressed with his honest enthusiasm for the sport and his wry smile. I was so surprised and dismayed when I read of his departure from this earth. He will be sorely missed in the field of athletics and by all his friends and colleagues.


Bye Svein, rest in peace.



Jayne Pearce, Pearce International

Sven Arne was a great leader with a true passion for athletics. I first met him in the 1980s when I was new to the sport. He was always supportive, ready to offer his expert advice with a smile.


He will be sorely missed.



Michael Nowak, Leiria, LOC, Portugal

We only met 2018 at the European throwing cup in Leiria and developed a friendship I'll never forget. Svein was an extraordinary man, I feel so sorry about his sudden decease.


May he rest in peace.


Barry J. Lee, Athletics Best

A true and honorable gentleman in every sense of the word.



John Rawling, Freelance broadcaster


I knew Svein Arne from 1988 when I commentated on the Bislett Games for BBC Radio for the first time alongside Dave Moorcroft, who had broken the world 5000 metres record in Oslo six years earlier. My first impression of Svein was of a big, larger than life character who had an infectious enthusiasm for athletics and a carefree, fun approach to life itself. Attending the games a wonderful social experience, largely because of the man at the top, and I was luck to have visited Norway many times to cover the games. Only last year, at the invitation of my great friend Sebastian Coe, I visited the Ivo Van Damme games in Brussels. Aside from some great athletics, the visit was memorable for some great late night banter with Svein, as ever, very much involved. Little did I know it would be the last time that I would hear his laughter and share his infectious sense of humour. He loved the sport and the people involved. He was a big, kind man who loved life and left so many memories. I will remember him from that night, so little changed from the man I had first met 31 years earlier. I am sure I will not be the first to have said I am so glad that I met Svein Arne Hansen.

Oscar Tosato, Le Conseiller municipal, Patrice Iseli, Le chef de service, Ville de Lausanne


Nous avons été attristés d'apprendre le décès de votre président, Monsieur Svein Arne Hansen, et mesurons ce que représente ce deuil pour les membres et les collaborateurs de votre fédération.


Si rien ne peut jamais nous préparer au départ d'un être cher, nous tenons néanmoins a vous témoigner notre plus profonde compassion et nous nous associons à votre peine.

Nos meilleures pensées vous accompagnent et nous vous adressons, Monsieur le Directeur, nos plus sincères condoléances.