27 December, 2018

Funeral service for Res Brügger takes place on 25 January

Athletics legend and Weltklasse Zürich guiding figure Andreas Brügger has died aged 91 following a long illness in Zurich on Thursday morning. The funeral service will take place on Friday, 25 January at 14.00 in the Fraumünster church in Zurich.

Andreas «Res» Brügger turned the international athletics meeting at Zurich’s Letzigrund Stadium into one of the world’s best one-day events. Born in Meiringen (Bernese Oberland), the former top executive and 1955 national shot put champion, had acted as a coach for the Zurich athletics club before assuming his role as leader of the athletics meeting. He played golf on a regular basis, even after his 90th birthday.

At the age of 25, his professional career – Andreas Brügger was a Director with Schweizerische Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft (Swiss Re) – brought him to Zurich. Athletics fascinated him both as an athlete and on an event level. When the first world records were set at Letzigrund Stadium (in the high hurdles by Martin Lauer in the 100m by Armin Hary) in the late fifties and early sixties, he was already working in the athletes’ liaison office. And when the meeting’s future hung in balance for the first time in the late sixties, it was the athletics club LCZ and its vice-chairman Andreas Brügger who saved it by urging the Zurich City Council to approve a loan that would help extend the arena’s track from six to eight lanes.

In 1970, he was named chairman of the Zurich athletics club, and in 1973, he became head of the meeting organisation, a role he would maintain for 27 years. He managed to create a success story and one of the most prestigious sports events in the world. 19 new world records were set at Letzigrund Stadium over the course of the Brügger era. However, he pursued both athletics and economic success: Starting out with a budget of 148,000 Swiss francs in 1973, he worked with 1.15 million Swiss francs in 1983, and when he stepped down as a Meeting Director in 2000, the meeting’s budget had grown to 5.8 million Swiss francs. About 12 million Swiss francs in benefit from the meeting went to the Zurich athletics club by the time he retired from his role as a chairman of the supporting association VfG LCZ in 2006.

In 1983, Res Brügger established the «Verein für Grossveranstaltungen (VfG)» as supporting association for the meeting, and he did so despite strong resistance within the organisation. However, VfG helped the meeting team become more focused, professional, and flexible – characteristics that were required for aspects, such as sponsoring, TV rights, and international networks. Just as the meeting itself, the receptions for the sport’s stars he and his wife Doris held on their terrace high above Lake Zurich became legendary.

Res Brügger received countless awards. In addition to being named Honorary President and Honarary Member of LCZ and Swiss Athletics, he was awarded a medal for merit and a sports award by the City of Zurich, medals by athletics associations and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as well as an award for special merits on behalf of sports in Switzerland. Most recently, Sebastian Coe, President of the international athletics federation IAAF, awarded him with the “IAAF President’s Award”.

Weltklasse Zürich and the VfG/LCZ offer their deepest sympathy to his wife Doris and the whole family.