T&FT@30 – Rewind 2002

2002 was the “M&M” year with Manchester & Munich venues for the quadrennial European Champs & Commonwealth Games combo – it was remarkable how many fans managed to attend both events with only 6 days between the schedules – not to mention athletes doubling up too!

T&FT was selected by the organisers to be an official agent for the Manchester event and ran a comprehensive programme with a balance of hotels and University apartment accommodation focused around the Manchester Business School – David Barnett, an MBS graduate had pre-booked two years in advance. Excellent value and ideal for families and friends it was, in effect, a “T&FT Supporters Village” very close to the city centre. Over 600 clients took advantage of these options and with Manchester’s presentation up to Olympic Games standard and with sold out venues it was a very memorable event.  The home nations had full teams and dominated with England topping the Athletics medals table and also winning the most gold medals.

And then it was on to Munich. Paul Radcliffe was the stand out British M&M performer with a Games record 5000m win in Manchester and then her remarkable 10000m solo run victory in Munich in “Manchester conditions” of torrential rain: she was just narrowly outside 30 mins but set a European record, a performance many considered was then the  real world record. Only Steve Backley and Ashia Hansen also managed M&M double victories with the British team’s medals total in Munich down on previous recent editions as the proximity of the two events competition schedules took its toll.

As ever the social side for clients attending the Games was important. In Manchester Supporters Parties at both the Manchester Business School, to welcome clients, and another at the Science & Industry Museum were well received venues and events – the latter was, and remains, a fascinating record of the city’s heritage role in the industrial revolution as it unfolded in the region. In Munich the booking of one of the Bavarian capitals most famous beer halls for exclusive use was as fun as you might imagine it could be with a lederhosen clad band, the steins of beer, and the kitsch entertainment of the famous Bavarian whip crackers – click for video clip as an example of their performance. The whip-per cracking snappers / schnappers(?) were just as authentic as the first nation drummers and performers from Edmonton the previous year if potentially more of a risk to guests  but at least it was not morris dancing!  Our party was supported by GB team members including Marlon Devonish a triple medal winner across the M&M events.

Earlier in the year Vienna had been the venue for the European Indoor Champs where Jason Gardener and Colin Jackson both won golds and the GB team a further 5 medals. The glorious Savoie Alps and Annecy hosted the European Cup Final where the GB teams finished 4th (Men) and 5th (Women) in heatwave conditions. For Colin his Vienna indoor gold, victory in Annecy and later win in Munich – his 4th consecutive 110m H European title – would be the final major victories of his astonishingly successful career that we had the privilege to follow and support.