The first incarnation of what has been dubbed the “European Games,” an Olympic-style quadrennial event that is to be held in the year preceding each summer Olympic Games, will be held in 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
When this event was first announced by the European Olympic Committees, some of the biggest draws, swimming, gymnastics, and athletics, balked a bit, as they already had scheduled major championships for that year, and weren’t sure that they wanted to participate in another meet that would potentially have this sort of status.
But the Ligue Europeenne de Natation, the governing body for all European aquatics, has come to a compromise with the European Games. In the years of the European Games, the event will replace the European Junior Championships in swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming, at least for year one.
The feeling is not as optimistic about athletics (aka track & field), but those negotiations are still ongoing; the concern is over interference with the already-scheduled European Team Championships. Among the proposals from that sport, organizing officials are proposing an “invitational” event without the formal support of the European Athletics organization. The invitations would be extended to a global list of entries, from both Europe and around the world, where the top 16 entrants in each event would be invited.
In regard to the already-awarded hosts of 2015, LEN has simply bumped them a year. Now, Hodmezovasarhely will hold the Junior Swimming Championships in 2016 instead of 2015, and Rijeka, Croatia will host synchronized swimming and diving a year later as well.
Among the more unique competitions of these games will be a three-on-three, half-court basketball tournament, beach soccer, and potentially competitive dancing or sport climbing.