“A European Team Would be World Beaters!

So thought French track star, Michel Jazy. In 1964, when all one might hear and read about is whether the US or USSR would dominate in the medals race, Jazy dreamed of a new power, one formed of the united states of Europe, a vision hatched from the ruins of World War II, when leaders looked for ways to avoid all together the devastation of extreme nationalism.

Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany signed The Treaty

Michel Jazy - French Miler  August 30, 1965 X 10862 credit:  Gerry Cranham - assign
Michel Jazy – French Miler
August 30, 1965
X 10862
credit: Gerry Cranham – assign

of Rome which established the European Economic Community in 1957. Jazy extended that thinking, and imagined a time when Europe would be the dominant player in the grandest of the global sporting competitions.

Sports Illustrated described this point in their October 5, 1964 issue.

Michel Jazy, the French distance runner, could see medals practically pouring from heaven as he explained his enthusiastic endorsement of a proposal that a European juggernaut be formed from countries in the Common Market, ostensibly to challenge Russia and the U.S. for team points—points that are unofficial and contrary to the best Olympic intentions. “A European team,” said Jazy, “would be world-beaters!”

Michel Jazy was a formidable middle distance runner in the 1960s, winning silver in the 1,500 meters in Rome, and then going onto compete in Tokyo in 1964. He ran a European record time in the 5,000 meter finals in Tokyo, but still finished fourth in one of the most dramatic finishes of the Tokyo Games.