Why was DNA created?
It’s time for something new in athletics. DNA is an innovative way to engage younger audiences, which demand fast-paced entertainment and consume their sport content on multiple devices. It is also intended to provide attractive competition opportunities for all levels of participants – kids, club athletes and elite performers – that will strengthen the grassroots of our sport.

Where does the name DNA come from?
DNA stands for Dynamic New Athletics but the initials also highlight that this new format focuses on and respects the fundamental elements of the sport – running, jumping and throwing – and that athletics is in everybody’s genes.

What makes DNA different?
DNA is a rapid-fire, team-based, multi-event format for athletics. It features modified rules, mixed-gender relays and head-to-head competition in the field events where every jump and throw counts. It takes place inside a stadium but unlike a traditional athletics meeting, the focus in on just one event at a time. The carefully designed format means the action is non-stop and the final result will always be in doubt until the very end. With team success as the primary aim, the role of the coach during the event, tactics and team spirit are especially important. A whole DNA competition takes place in two hours – which makes it attractive both as entertainment and for participants in our modern, time-scarce age.

How was DNA created?
DNA was created by European Athletics with support from the European Olympic Committees. In a three-year project, we drew on research with young people around Europe, got extensive input from top athletes and then had event-presentation experts shape the product.

Will DNA replace tradition athletics?
No, definitely not. DNA is a parallel format that supplements traditional athletics like hip-hop supplements classical music. To maximise the fan base and participant base of athletics we need to offer both. Some people will like one, some will like the other . . . and some will like both!

When will we see the next DNA showcase event?
The planning and delivery of showcase DNA events has been slowed down by the restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. However, European Athletics is working with potential hosts with the aim of staging indoor DNA competitions for national teams starting in 2022.

What about DNA for Europe’s top clubs?
The European Athletics Council has approved financial support for a U20 DNA Clubs Cup in 2022. The aim is to determine the interest of Europe’s top clubs in sending teams to an international DNA event. It is expected that a host will be confirmed in the summer or early autumn of 2021 and that a workshop for Member Federations and interested clubs will be staged at the European Athletics Convention in October.

What about DNA for the grassroots?
With support from European Athletics, the Spanish athletics federation secured a € 300,000 grant from the European Union and is now leading the work to bring DNA to the grassroots with its “Jungle Athletics” project. In addition to national schools and clubs competitions, the project includes development of a smartphone app for managing DNA events. The project will culminate with a 2022 conference during which experiences will be shared and blueprints for rolling out DNA in other countries will be created.