The International Firefighters Olympics of CTIF
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The International Firefighting Competitions of CTIF is a spectacular event gathering 3500 contestants from over 30countries, with over 10 000 fans in the audience! Here are some highlights from our history which spans over the better part of six decades.
By CTIF Competitions Chair Klaus Georg Franke
1961: Bad Godesberg on the Rhine
It began in 1961 with the Traditional Fire Fighting Competitions. On the basis of decisions of the Plenary Assembly of the CTIF on 22 September 1960, the 1st International Fire Brigade competitions were held from 21 to 25 June 1961 in Bad Godesberg on the Rhine in the Federal Republic of Germany. 51 groups from 11 nations participated in this event. Since Austria and Germany had been applying the competition rules in their countries for several years, the scores of the German-speaking countries were separated from those of the non-German-speaking countries.
1963: Mulhouse in Alsace
The great success of the event in Bad Godesberg prompted the French Fire Brigade Association to host the competitions in Mulhouse in the Département of Haut-Rhin. As in Bad Godesberg, the competitors were housed in a tent camp. The rating of the eleven participating nations was no longer made linguistically separate.
1966: Karlovac, the first competition in a communist state
The different social structures of the participating nations had no influence on the course of the event. For the first time, groups from the former Eastern bloc took part in the event and a Soviet delegation demonstrated the 4x100 meter steeplechase, the sports competitions that were added to the event much later.
1969: In Krems, the fathers of the competitions showed their skills
Since 1961, the Austrian Josef (Joschi) Holaubek has stood in front of the CTIF and Dipl. Ing. Ferdinand Heger was the chairman of the competition committee and Josef (Sepp) Kast the competition director. For the first time women were allowed to compete in Krems. As in Karlovac, the competitors and judges were housed in a barracks. With 104 groups from 14 nations there was a participation record.
1973: Brno, the first CTIF Games behind the Iron Curtain
Despite permanent control and surveillance by the security organs of the ruling regime, the Brno event can be described as exemplary. Everything was organized. However, the victorious Austrians had to suffer a bitter defeat this time. The groups of the host country were professionally prepared for the competitions. For the first time, the sports competitions known to date only in the Eastern Bloc were brought to the event. But not only this type of competition became a fixed part of the event from now on. Before the award ceremony, the winning groups showed their skills once again, with the start taking place at the same time. But it took many more years until the parallel start general entry into the competition regulations found.
1977: Trient thrilled with Italian temperament
Since the International Fire Brigade competitions take place only every four years, this event of the CTIF also received the affectionate name "Fire Brigade Olympiad". The competitions in Trient were exemplary and quiet. However, the number of groups declined slightly in the traditional competitions, but seven groups have already joined the sports competitions. All contestants were thrilled by the beautiful surroundings of the northern Italian city and so leisure was also used for some excursions.
1981: German Discipline was commanded in Böblingen
For the first time also the international competitions of the fire brigade, Youth Games were held together with the adult competitions. Since then, three types of competitions have been held at the "International". Initial difficulties in the sports competitions - the former head of the sports competitions was no longer allowed to leave Czechoslovakia - were quickly resolved. Firefighter camaraderie soon forgot about the then strict division of Europe. Firefighter camaraderie joined the groups from East and West.
1985: In Vöcklabruck the Austrians wanted to do even better
The proven team under the leadership of Sepp Kast could now show in their own country, how to perform the International competitions. Supported by an extremely creative local organizing committee, the competitions in Vöcklabruck were exemplary. For the first time at the sports competitions, groups of volunteer fire departments were allowed to compete separately.
1989: The Competition Management was handed over to Warsaw
A shabby neighborhood, cold food, and many things during this time could not be offered according to the usual standard. However, one has to take into account: Poland was a very poor country then and yet wanted to show its best side. The efforts were only partially on. Nevertheless, the event was a great success with regard to the number of participants. Kast, now Vice President of the CTIF, left the competition to its designated successor, Herbert Schanda, who was already a judge in Brno and has led the sport competitions since Böblingen.
1993: Berlin was marked by the Collapse of Communism
Since immediately after the competitions in Warsaw, the borders between East and West were no longer hermetically sealed, one wanted to carry out the competitions in 1993 partly in East Berlin, partly in West Berlin. The political development but overturned. In 1993, there was no longer an Eastern bloc. Well supported by the professional fire brigade of the city of Berlin, there were best competition conditions. It was criticized that the hosting of the competitions in a large city had brought no spectators to the event.
1997: Herning had the grandest competition area
If one had criticized the short training times in Berlin, then one could offer sufficient training possibilities to the groups in Herning, since numerous sport places were available in a large-scale plant. In all three types of competition a record audience was recorded. However, the competition management noticed that never before have so few law enforcement officers been deployed, but at the same time never had so much to do. There was exemplary discipline. A phenomenon that one would often wish for.
2001: Hot days in the far north
Kuopio is known as the venue for numerous ski jumping competitions. In July 2001, however, firemen and women from many European nations dominated the city scape of the city in the middle of Finland. A great team from the local organizers supported Herbert Schanda and his judges, so that once again excellent competitions took place. Like already since 1981, the international competitions of the fire brigade youth under the responsibility of Wilfried Weissgärber were handled simultaneously. However, the heat during the competitions with temperatures around 35 degrees - and that in the far north - will surely have been remembered by all participants.
2005: Shanda and Weissgärber were adopted in Varaždin
The competitions could be handled easily after some initial difficulties. At the same time, it should not be forgotten that Croatia was still suffering from the aftermath of the Balkan war in the 90s and that many resources were still lacking. Already before the event in Varaždin, Wilfried Weissgärber handed over the youth competitions to Ignaz Mascha and after this competition Josef Huber took over the management of the International Adult Competitions of Herbert Schanda. At the award ceremony Weissgärber and Schanda were also duly approved.
2009: Record-breaking audience in the Czech Republic
Nearly 3000 participants welcomed the competition management in Ostrava. Likewise, the financial expenses were record-breaking. For example, all the equipment - from the pressure hose to the hook ladder tower - was newly acquired for this event. The electronics had arrived. The timing of all types of competitions was documented in a viewer-friendly manner via large ads. The intern. Traditional competitions set another record: for the first time, the fastest time in the firefighting attack was less than 30 seconds. Often the mutual competition was in the foreground, a basis for the high performance, but in the end the phenomenon "fire family" did not stop.
2013: Mulhouse for the second time around
50 years later, the international fire brigade community is once again in Alsace, France, in Mulhouse to be exact. Due to a brief change of the organizer nation, only 2 ½ years preparation time, were organized, but very well organized competitions. The word "does not work" was unknown to the French organizers. Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic supported the not so competitive French volunteers with help and advice. Eduard Kammerer was appointed International Competition Director shortly before the event and was able to look back on a very successful event due to the outstanding cooperation of all committees.
2017: The city of Villach was On Fire!
The motto for the 16th International Fire Brigade Competitions and the 21st International Youth FireBrigade Gathering of the CTIF from 9 to 16 July 2017 was „Villach on Fire“.
Several interesting presentations were made, also by the Most recently acceded Member States; Iran and The Democratic Republic of Korea. The new Financial Procedures and Regulation was adopted and The Delegates decided to upgrade the Volunteer Firefighter ́s Working Group to a Commission.
The city of Villach and the Austrian Federal Fire Brigade Association managed to create excellent conditions for the three competitions and scoring groups:
- The Traditional International Fire Brigade Competitions (150 teams)
- The International Fire Brigade Sporting Competitions (27 teams) andEuro NCAP,
- The International Competitions for Cadet
- The Corps of Fire Brigades (59 teams)
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