LAUSANNE, Switzerland (26 April 2002) - The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Dr Jacques Rogge, today awarded the 2002 Women & Sport Trophies to the winners during a ceremony held at the IOC headquarters.
The trophy, created in 2000, is awarded annually to a woman or man (athlete, coach, administrator or journalist) or to an institution or organisation in recognition of their outstanding contribution to developing, encouraging and strengthening the participation of women and girls in physical and sports activities, in coaching, and in sports administration and leadership structures, as well as promoting female journalists and women's sport in the media. Five continental trophies and one trophy at world level are awarded.
The winners were picked by the IOC Women and Sport Working Group, chaired by Ms Anita L. DeFrantz, from the 44 candidates submitted by National Olympic Committees and International Olympic Sports Federations. The Working Group selected: Ms Tsigie Gebre-Mesih (Ethiopia), for Africa; Ms Rafaela Gonzalez Ferrer (Cuba), for the Americas; the Myanmar Women's Sport Association (represented by Ms Kyu and Ms Yee), for Asia; Ms Lale Orta (Turkey), for Europe; and Ms Billy Jean King (USA), for the World Trophy.
Trophy for Africa:
Ms Tsigie Gebre-Mesih (ETH) is one of the few devoted athletes who have contributed to the development of sport among women in Ethiopia. From a young age, she won many awards for her ability as a short distance runner, and became the first Ethiopian woman to participate in the Olympic Games. Her achievements inspired her to become a coach of the men's and women's national short distance teams. Since 1984 she has devoted much of her time to organising coaching and refereeing courses in the different regions of her country.
Trophy for the Americas:
Ms Rafaela Gonzalez Ferrer (CUB) has been involved in the gradual development of women of her country and region in all areas of sport, notably in fencing, at both national and international level. She introduced women's epée in 1985, which has since been developed into a national discipline, and Cuba is now the permanent venue for this sport's World Cup. She has proved to be an advocate for the promotion of women in sport as the first woman from the Americas to become an Honour Member of the International Fencing Federation (FIE), and has been a member of the FIE Executive Committee since 1996.
Trophy for Asia:
Founded in 1991, the Myanmar Women's Sports Federation strives to promote the participation of girls and women in sport and physical education activities, and encourages equal opportunities for men and women. Under the aegis of the Myanmar National Olympic Committee, the Federation follows the policy guidelines provided by both the NOC and the Ministry of Sport. Currently headed by Dr May May Yi, Vice-Chair of the Myanmar National Working Committee for Women's Affairs, it has developed several national sport and advocacy programmes with the aims of facilitating the development of women both physically and mentally, and encouraging the advancement of female athletes to international level.
Trophy for Europe:
Ms Lale Orta (TUR) has been a role model and a leader for Turkish women in field sports, as an athlete, coach, commentator and referee. In addition to her many accomplishments as an athlete, she helped to create the first women's football team in Turkey and became the first Turkish female football coach in 1985. During this time, she also officiated as a referee for over 1,500 football matches. She was hired by Turkish National Television as its first female football commentator, making other television stations consider the importance of this and encouraging them to hire women. Now a sports missionary travelling to different parts of her country, she continues to motivate and encourage girls and women to participate in sport.
Trophy for Oceania:
Ms Helen Brownlee (AUS) has played a key role in increasing female participation in the Olympic canoeing events and in the inclusion of Slalom Canoe events at the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney in 2000, where we witnessed the highest level of female athletes' participation ever. She has also worked for many years on Olympic education, particularly in relation to school children, and established state-wide programmes for girls at the same level of participation as boys. As an efficient national and international sports administrator in canoeing and in several organs of the Olympic Movement and the government, as well as a dedicated educator, she has set an example and provided encouragement, direction and support for the increased participation of girls and women in sport at all levels.