Andreas Brügger (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Zurich, Switzerland

Brügger, pioneering meeting director, dies

The IAAF is deeply saddened by the news that Andreas "Res" Brügger, an early champion for the professionalisation of athletics and the long-time meeting director of Zurich's Weltklasse, died at his home in Zurich on Thursday (27). Brügger was 91.

Born in Meiringen in the Canton of Bern in 1927, Brügger's life-long involvement in athletics began as an athlete in the 1950s, highlighted by a national title in the shot put in 1955. He later served as a coach at LC Zurich before assuming the club's presidency in 1970 and three years later, the helm of Zurich's Weltklasse.

During his time in the role, which he held until 2000, 19 world records were set at Weltklasse in a period in which it was transformed into one of the most prestigious one-day meetings in the world. Propelled by Brügger's organisational innovations that paved the way for new sponsorships across the sport, the meeting became known as 'the Olympics in one day' during his tenure, and was a key component of the Golden Four, a Grand Slam style athletics meeting series inaugurated in 1993. That later evolved into the Golden League in 1998, the precursor to today's IAAF Diamond League. Brügger was also founder and first president of Euromeetings, the association of European one-day track meets, which was established in 1979.

Brügger was recognised throughout his career for his ground-breaking and trail-blazing achievements. He was awarded a Medal of Merit and the Sports Prize of the City of Zurich, the Order of the International Olympic Committee and the Prize for Special Services to Swiss Sport. Most recently, Brügger was awarded the President's Award at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2018 on 4 December to honour his life-long commitment to athletics.

"Andreas is a man who has had a profound impact on our sport," said IAAF President Sebastian Coe.

"He was politically astute, commercially very, very savvy, and turned a regional athletics meet into the premiere grand prix meet of its era. For him it wasn't about haute couture running up against politics, it wasn't about ticket sales. His first and only consideration was the athletes."

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF