The ISTAF turns 100 – premiere on 3 July 1921

2. July 2021

Happy Birthday! The history of the ISTAF began exactly 100 years ago tomorrow. On July 3, 1921, three Berlin clubs hosted the first International Stadium Festival in the Grunewald Stadium – with athletics and swimming competitions. The big anniversary of the oldest athletics meeting in the world will be celebrated at the ISTAF 2021 on Sunday, September 12th, in the Olympic Stadium. For the anniversary edition of the athletics spectacle 100 years after the premiere, the organizers are now launching a ticket special. For a week there are 100 tickets (categories 2 to 4) at half price every day. Tickets and information at

“The ISTAF has offered fans many unforgettable experiences with outstanding athletes in recent years,” says meeting director Martin Seeber. “We want to celebrate the anniversary on September 12th – five weeks after the Olympics – with lots of activities and great athletes. We are very optimistic that we can do this with our fans.” Initially, only a limited number of tickets will be available. Based on the detailed protection and hygiene concept that has proven itself at the ISTAF 2020, initially only personalized tickets will be issued and only selected seats (with sufficient spacing from one another) will be offered. If spectators are not allowed or only in a very limited number due to new regulations, the ticket buyers will be reimbursed the ticket price.

The world athletics association World Athletics has awarded the “World Athletics Heritage Plaque” to ISTAF as “The world’s oldest invitational one-day meeting. Founded 1921” and recognized the “enormous influence in the historical development of athletics”. Founded in the “Roaring Twenties” in the newly created Greater Berlin, established after the Olympic Games in 1936, restarted after the war, based on the idea of international cooperation, influenced by the Cold War, the civil rights movement, the struggle for equality and Understanding, further developed through technical innovations and euphoric by the fall of the Berlin Wall – the ISTAF has always reflected Berlin and German-German history over the course of 100 years. Always the focus: the athletes from all over the world, enthusiastically celebrated by the fair and cosmopolitan Berlin audience.

20,000 at the ISTAF premiere

On July 3, 1921, the sports clubs Berliner SC, SC Charlottenburg and Schwimm-Club Poseidon jointly host the first International Stadium Festival in what was then the Grunewald Stadium. 20,000 spectators experience exciting competitions, which back then also included swimming disciplines. In 1937 the first ISTAF in the Berlin Olympic Stadium takes place – one year after the Berlin Olympic Games. 85,000 spectators marvel at one world and two European records.

In the moving and eventful history of the ISTAF, a total of 79 international stadium festivals were held and 15 world records were set. In the meantime, the ISTAF INDOOR is also writing the track and field history of the International Stadium Festival, which was launched in 1921. The indoor meeting in the Mercedes-Benz Arena is the largest in the world. However, it was not the first “Indoor ISTAF”: Over the years, the ISTAF has already been held in the Grunewald Stadium, the Olympic Stadion, the Mommsenstadion, the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahnsportpark, the Zehlendorf Stadium and the Deutschlandhalle; Since 2014, the ISTAF INDOOR has also included today’s Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin and, since 2021, the ISS DOME in Düsseldorf.