International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach was in Rome on Monday to mark the 100th anniversary of the National Olympic Committee of Italy (CONI).
The centenary celebrations were also attended by President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano; Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino; President of the Italian Senate Pietro Grasso; CONI President Giovanni Malago; and IOC members in Italy, including Franco Carraro and Mario Pescante.
A golden line-up of Italian sports stars was also in attendance, including Alpine skier Alberto Tomba and high jumper Sara Simeoni, two Olympic champions who were named male and female athletes of the Italian centennial.
Speaking at the celebrations, President Bach, who won his fencing team gold medal at the Montreal Games against Italy, said: “I always found my Italian rivals to be not only extremely determined, yet when the contest was over great friends and companions. For me, this is still a lasting legacy – the friendships we made are one of the reasons why I have such admiration for Italian sport.”
The President then went on to praise the work of the NOC over the last 100 years: “CONI has become the benchmark for many NOCs and sporting organisations around the world. We have learnt a lot from Italian sports organisation and for this we are grateful. Therefore, I would like to congratulate and pay my respects not just to the President of CONI, Giovanni Malago, but to all the Presidents in your illustrious history and the great legacy they have left.”
President Bach earlier held private talks with the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.