Athletics world rallies around Svein Arne Hansen

Support sent to European Athletics president who has been hospitalised after having a stroke

Get well wishes have been sent from around the world to Svein Arne Hansen after news that the president of European Athletics is receiving hospital treatment following a stroke.

European Athletics CEO Christian Milz released a statement on Tuesday to say that Hansen remains in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Norway “where he is receiving the best possible treatment” after his stroke while at home during the evening of Sunday March 15.

“Doctors have not yet given a detailed prognosis about his recovery, but it is expected that he will remain in the hospital for at least one week and then undergo a significant period of rehabilitation,” said Milz, who added that Hansen was also tested for coronavirus following his admission but that those tests were negative.

“I have no doubt that Svein Arne’s countless friends around the world share the deep concern of the European Athletics family, including the Council and headquarters staff, as we monitor developments. Our thoughts are with his wife, Jannicke, their children and grandchildren, at this time.”

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, a long-time colleague and friend of Hansen, was among those to release a statement and said: “All of us at World Athletics are shocked by the news from European Athletics about their president, Svein Arne Hansen, and I speak on behalf of us all and the World Athletics Council, which he attended last week, in wishing Svein Arne a speedy and full recovery.

“He is a hugely popular figure in the sport of athletics and has been a passionate advocate of the sport for half a century.

“Our thoughts are with his family, his colleagues and all the athletes he cares so passionately about. We stand by to support European Athletics at this time.”

Cherry Alexander, who last year became European Athletics’ first female vice-president, said: “Such sad news to hear. Wishing my president, ‘King Viking’ and great friend a full recovery and looking forward to seeing a return to health ASAP.”

Hansen became president of European Athletics in 2015 and last year was re-elected unopposed for another four-year term.

President of the Norwegian Athletics Federation from 2003, Hansen was also the meeting director of Oslo’s Bislett Games from 1985-2009 and was a European Athletics vice president from 2007-2011.

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