The outstanding contributions of Andreas Schmid and Katalin Rozsnyoi to the careers of athletes, as well as to the wider Olympic Movement, were recognised at the IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards, held for the second time on 5 October.
The awards invite athletes to nominate coaches who have had a special impact on their lives or performances, and were presented as part of the Olympism in Action Forum in Buenos Aires, taking place ahead of Youth Olympic Games – also being held in the Argentinian capital.
The event continued the success of the inaugural awards in 2017, where US swimming coach Jon Urbanchek and Japan’s synchronised swimming coach Keneko Masako became the first winners. Notably, in 2018 there was a significant increase in the number of nominations from the previous edition, with candidates coming from 38 countries, including submissions from National Olympic Committees (NOCs), International Federations and individual athletes.
The selection panel consisted of Bernard Rajzman and Paul Tergat from the IOC Athletes’ Entourage Commission (AEC), as well as AEC chair Sergey Bubka, alongside IOC Athletes’ Commission members Sarah Walker and Emma Terho – who herself was present to hand out each award.
Outstanding contribution to athletes’ success
Austrian skeleton coach Andreas Schmid collected the award in the men’s category. As Performance Director for British Skeleton over a 17-year period, Schmid – who was a world champion athlete in the discipline before it became part of the Olympic programme – helped build a hugely successful British team from the ground up, and who have between them medalled at five consecutive Olympic Winter Games since 2002. At PyeongChang 2018, Team GB swept half of the medals on offer, with Lizzy Yarnold becoming the first skeleton athlete in history to retain an Olympic title.
On receiving the award, an emotional Schmid said: “This is a huge recognition for the athletes, coaches and support staff in our programme. There are so many successful and inspirational coaches out there in the Olympic world, and I feel privileged to receive this award – especially in Buenos Aires when we have the next generation of athletes getting their first taste of the Olympic experience.”
In the women’s category, Katalin Rozsnyoi was recognised for her exceptional contribution to Hungary’s Olympic success. Having won an Olympic sprint canoe medal herself in 1968, Rozsnyoi went on to coach athletes who between them have won 11 Olympic canoe medals and a staggering 84 at world championships.
The other winners on the night
The IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards were announced alongside the IOC Women and Sport Awards, which focus on recognising those at the forefront of promoting and improving gender equality in sport.
The Women and Sport World Trophy was awarded to the Eczabcibaşi Sports Club for its key role in the development of women’s volleyball in Turkey, while the five Continental Awards were presented to Rachel Muthoga (Africa), Chandra Crawford (Americas), Samar Nassar (Asia), Daina Gudzineviciute (Europe) and Lauren Jackson (Oceania).