Over the past few years, popular sports events, notably running races (10 km, half marathons, marathons, cross country, trails), walking tours, triathlon or cycle-tours have been developing successfully across Europe. Some of these events are connected to the promotion of a region, a cultural project or a charitable cause. They exemplify the values dear to the heart of the Council of Europe such as inclusion, solidarity and fair play.
This connection between a popular sports event and a territory must be encouraged. Building on the conclusions of the recent report on "Sport for all: a bridge to equality, integration and social inclusion" (Doc. 14127, rapporteur: Ms Carmen Quintanilla) and on the Council of Europe's long-standing work undertaken in support of local museums, consideration should be given to the merits of twinning popular sports events with the discovery of the European museum, architectural, natural, gastronomic or tourist heritage.
Europe is a constellation of territories, traditions and cultures. This diversity is our common wealth. Discovering local realities while participating in popular sports events contributes to the strengthening of the European identity and the feeling of belonging to a shared destiny. The development of popular sports events and of the discovery of the European heritage should be better connected.