• Tomás Barris is considered a pioneer of professional athletics in Spain. He was the first athlete to have his own personal manager; and, this was at a time when the International Amateur Athletics Federation (I.A.A.F.) only allowed athletes to receive $2 US per day, as pocket money, on top of the traveling and accommodation expenses paid by the organizers. Receiving more than that limit automatically disqualified an athlete on the grounds of professionalism. 
  • As a result of his performances at the ISTAF, in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, in 1957, breaking the Spanish 2000m. record, the Swedish promoter Sven Ströemberg, sub-director of the important newspaper, the "Goteborgs Posten", proposed that Barris join a group of US athletes to participate in their summer tours of Europe alongside some of the best athletes in the world.
  • Barris in third place in the 1500 m. meeting in Helsinki in 1959His appearance fee was never high and always related to the importance of the meeting and the expected crowd at the event. He spent two years in this environment, long enough to allow Barris to get to know well all the ins and outs of this cloaked professionalism, where huge sums of money changed hands. Trainers, directors, managers, clubs, etc., were adroit at getting around the existing regulations and everyone did what they could to help. However, it must be made very clear that while it was the athletes who filled the stadiums, they only received a minute percentage of the takings.
  • Towards the end of 1958, the ties between Tomás Barris and his manager were severed, by mutual accord, with Barris deciding to become a free agent as far as his European performances were concerned. Perfectly aware of many of the tricks of the trade, he constantly learned more ways to get around the limitations imposed on him by officials. It was not long before organizers were getting in touch with him directly and agreeing to his terms.
  • His success went beyond what he had hoped for and invitations to compete never ceased to pour in. The clubs saved 50 percent and he earned twice as much as before. It was not long before other famous athletes copied  his tactic, forming a small group who were constantly performing, among whom could be found the world record holder and Olympic Silver Medallist at 5000m., the Englishman Gordon Pirie.
  • We must not neglect to mention that the Spanish Athletics Federation always supported Barris on these tours, and never interfered or meddled with them. The most important thing for the Federation at the time was that thanks to Barris' successes, the Spanish record table was enhanced and Spanish athletics began to establish a good reputation on the world stage. This was a totally supportive policy by the Federation (presided over by Rafael Cavero) which time has proved to have been entirely the correct strategy.