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07 Feb 2007
IOC News

Lilo Ljubisic, a life of challenge and passion

Today, a woman who has always lived her life to its fullest potential has been honoured at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. Ljiljana “Lilo” Ljubisic, a blind athlete, world and Paralympic champion, has received the United States Sports Academy’s “Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC Disabled Athlete Award” for her outstanding achievements in sport and her commitment to helping others to overcome challenges. The award was presented to her by the IOC President Jacques Rogge, in the presence of Juan Antonio Samaranch, IOC Honorary President, members of the IOC Executive Board and Lilo’s colleagues from the IOC Athletes’ Commission.
Inspired by the Olympic Movement
In his remarks, the IOC President underlined the impressive record Lilo has achieved in her athletics career, adding: “we can all express our admiration and respect for the tremendous work she has done as a leader for the advancement of disabled sport”. When receiving her award, Lilo Ljubisic said that she “owes a big debt to the Olympic Movement for providing some of [her] early memories, watching on television amazing gymnasts, ski jumpers and ice skaters, and also for providing incredible inspiration”. Proud and honoured to received this award, Lilo dedicated it to her parents for giving her the ability to trust in herself and allow her to pursue her dreams. 
A lifetime commitment to sport
Lilo Ljubisic has represented her country, Canada, in five editions of the Paralympic Games since 1984 in discus and shot put. A six-time Paralympic medallist, she won a gold medal in discus in 1992 in Barcelona. She also set two world and Paralympic records in both the discus and shot put at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta – records which stand to this day. After competing for nearly two decades on the field of sport, she pursues her commitment to sport and its practice by athletes with a disability in the field of sports administration. She currently chairs the International Paralympic Committee’s Athletes Council, and is a member of the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board. She serves as an Executive Board Member for the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport (CAAWS), as a member of the Board of Directors of “2010 Legacies Now” and was a long-standing Board member of Athletes Canada.
The Award
The “Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC Disabled Athlete Award" has been awarded by the United States Sports Academy (USSA) since 1990. The award is presented annually to a physically challenged athlete, past or present, who displays courage, desire and athletic ability in the face of adversity to achieve the goals set forth in the athlete's particular arena of competition. The USSA is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programmes in instruction, research and service. More info at

Listen to Lilo’s comments just after she received the award. (.mp3, 2Mb)
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