The teams competing in the first EuroGames heat get together to celebrate

 

When Jeux Sans Frontières ended after 18 annual seasons of competition in 1982, it was supposedly gone for good (and if you were living in the United Kingdom, arguably it was!). Fans of the series had to wait six years before a new version launched on the Continent in 1988 - and this 'second series' lasted until 1999. And then nothing... for a very, very long time... until 2019, a full two decades later, when the 31st series of JSF was made and transmitted, albeit under a different title - EuroGames.

 

Produced by the Mediaset group, specifically its Italian company Mediaset Italia, this new series was unable to use the classic 'Jeux Sans Frontières' name as it was owned by original series rights holder the European Broadcasting Union, who were not involved in EuroGames. The series is, however, seen as an official follow-up to JSF, and its theme music, which is a new version of the 1988-1999 signature tune, is testament to this.

 

Comprising five heats, each contested by six different towns and cities representing one of six nations - Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Russia and Spain - with qualification to a sixth event, a grand final, EuroGames was latter years JSF in all but name. As in the last few years of the second run of JSF, the programmes were staged at a single venue, in this case at the Cinecittà World Amusement Park, near Rome, Italy, in an arena that was built specially for the games.

 

The impressive arena built for the EuroGames competitions

 

The arena's theme was based around the idea of a Roman colosseum. The set consists of a general games area, a pool and a representation of the ancient Circus Maximus, with the Champions' Wall ramp to the far end.

 

The main referee was Juri Chechi, a celebrated Italian gymnast who won a Gold Medal at the Atlanta Olympics of 1996 and a Bronze at the Athens Olympics eight years later.

 

Each heat was composed of nine games, three of which were standard games repeated in each heat. One of these was an old-style Fil Rouge, which was an obstacle course game. The standard regular game involved contestants moving a transparent ball from the inside, and the final standard game was the Champions' Wall. The rest of the games were different in every heat.

 

Each team in the competition was composed of ten members of ages between 18 and 55. Town councils each paid €10,000 including tax to the organisers – this payment was required to cover participation expenses in the contest, including travel and accommodation.

 

by Alan Hayes
with thanks to David Laich Ruiz

JSFnetGB Series Guide pages researched by
Alan Hayes, David Hamilton, Neil Storer, Christos Moustakas, Philippe Minet,
Sébastien Dias, Ischa Bijl, Paul Leaver and JSFnet Websites