German Federal Parliament President Dr Wolfgang Schäuble was today presented with the Olympic Order by IOC President Thomas Bach in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“Your commitment to sport has always been an underlying theme of your impressive curriculum vitae. This commitment reflects your profound conviction that the unifying power of sport can bring all people together without discrimination,” said President Bach in his address, emphasising the domestic and international achievements of former German Interior Minister Schäuble, who in this capacity was also responsible for sport for many years.
The Olympic Order is the IOC’s highest honour for individuals, and is awarded to people who have upheld the Olympic values by rendering outstanding services to the development of sport or the Olympic Movement.
“With your sense of values, intellect and farsightedness, you also played a key role in the reunification of Germany and the creation of a blueprint for lasting peace in Europe. Yet even in those historic and hectic times, you did not lose sight of sport,” Bach explained during the ceremony at Olympic House, one of the most sustainable buildings in the world. “So it is thanks to you that the important social role of sport was included in the unification treaty. And in this way sport could make a positive contribution to the reunification process.”
The ceremony was attended by numerous personalities from Switzerland and Germany, including Swiss National Council President Isabelle Moret; the German Ambassador to Switzerland, Norbert Riedel; German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) President Alfons Hörmann; Olympic cycling champion Kristina Vogel; DOSB Presidential Board members Gudrun Doll-Tepper and Kaweh Niroomand; and DOSB CEO, Veronika Rücker.
Addressing Wolfgang Schäuble, Thomas Bach said: “On the international stage, you have always been a driving force for European unity. Because of your firm belief in the European solidarity-based sports model, you played a major role in ensuring that the social role of sport was included in the Lisbon Treaty. This created the basis for promoting the social dimension of sport in Europe. Because of this, I hope that you will regard this award not just as an expression of our thanks, but also as an encouragement to continue defending the European sports model based on voluntary commitment and solidarity in the future. This is particularly important today, as at EU level, many people are increasingly losing sight of the necessary differentiation between values-based sports organisations on the one hand, and purely commercial sports providers on the other.”
In his acceptance speech, Wolfgang Schäuble said: “This honour means a lot to me, as the Olympic ideals can guide us outside the stadium and arena as well. Peaceful competition following universally accepted rules, the principle of fair play, the quest for performance and the discipline of the individual as part of a team or for their own country – these are a motivating force that will ensure success far beyond the world of sport.”
After the presentation, the Bundestag President signed the IOC’s “Golden Book” and visited The Olympic Museum with President Bach.