World athletics supremo Sebastian Coe is upbeat that the famous blue running track in Berlin's Olympic Stadium will stay, despite ideas to turn the arena into a football stadium.
"I met with Berlin mayor Michael Mueller during the [current athletics] Euros and he assured me that the track will remain in the Olympic Stadium," the IAAF president Coe told the Tagesspiegel paper in an interview made available ahead of Sunday's publication.
"This stadium is iconic, it is a historical site. Of course, a few things are uncomfortable. But is a historian, I tell you: you don't reconstruct your history."
The stadium was built for the 1936 Olympics in then-Nazi Germany, with American Jesse Owens famously winning four gold medals. The track got its blue colour for the 2009 athletics world championships, at which Jamaican Usain Bolt ran his 100-metre and 200m world records.
The main tenant of the city-owned stadium, Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin, wants a football-only arena for a better atmosphere. Plans range from rebuilding the Olympic Stadium into such an arena to Hertha building a new stadium elsewhere.
A final decision is yet to be made.
Coe reiterated that athletics needs fundamental changes to stay relevant, saying: "We have to be courageous. Our sport hasn't changed enough ... We need strong one-day meets. They should last only 90 minutes or two hours."
The previous day Coe had spoken favourably about the so-called Dynamic New Athletics (DNA) competition for the 2019 European Games, a two-hour team event in which traditional elements, such as 100m runs, are combined with head-to-head field events and a so-called Track'Athlon, in which athletes pull a sleigh and do a standing long jump.
"I like what they are doing - I like it a lot," the insidethegames portal quoted Coe as saying. "I think it's an innovative, thoughtful approach to try to ignite even more excitement among young people."