Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee was awarded with The Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. “The President of the IOC makes a great contribution to the promotion of the Olympic idea and to cooperation and good relations between Poland and other countries and nations”, said the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda during the award ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.
– It is a very important moment for me and both a great honour and pleasure that on behalf of the Republic of Poland, I am able to award Mr Thomas Bach with one of the highest decorations of our country. By handing this order, I would like to thank the President of the IOC for everything he does for the development of global sport, for the memory of athletes, not only the most titled ones, for activities for the development of sport also in these not so well-developed countries, as well as for building a sports, international community and promoting the Olympic universal values. Mr Thomas Bach, as we have experienced many times, is extremely devoted to Poland and Polish athletes. I would like to thank him for respecting their role and accomplishments. I really appreciate his presence during the funeral of Mrs Irena Szewińska, our most titled Polish athlete, and supporting and promoting the presence of Poles in the international Olympic Movement – said the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda during the award ceremony.
– Thank you for this merit. It is a real honour to receive it from the President of the Republic of Poland. Poland, Poles and Polish culture, especially the music of Frederic Chopin, have a special place in my heart. I also greatly appreciate those with whom I work for the development of international sport and the Olympic Movement, especially the President of the Polish Olympic Committee, Andrzej Kraśnicki, with whom I have very good and friendly relations. The global sport involved and still involves many great and committed Polish People. I remember with a great respect those who passed away – Mrs Irena Szewińska and Mr Piotr Nurowski. I am glad that Ms Maja Włoszczowska became a member of the IOC and that the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency is Mr Witold Bańka. I am also proud that we share common goals and values, including Olympic solidarity, which is our great strength, said Thomas Bach.
Thomas Bach has been the head of the International Olympic Committee since September 2013. In August 2021, he was re-elected as the President of the IOC. The leadership of Thomas Bach involves a very difficult and demanding time for the World Olympic Movement. The global pandemic has paralysed many areas of life, including sport. For the first time in history, the Olympic Games were postponed; so far they were cancelled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to the world wars. Thanks to the great involvement of Thomas Bach, also the diplomatic one, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo were conducted safe and successfully at the new time set: from July, 23 to August, 8.
– During this difficult time, the Olympic Movement has a leader who has taken a very responsible task of organising Olympic events and leading the Olympic Movement in extraordinary circumstances. Thomas Bach is really friendly to Poland, he is interested in our affairs, appreciates the achievements of Polish athletes and cares about the position of Poles in the global sport, which is extremely important. I am honoured that Poland and the Polish Olympic Movement have a devoted, merited and committed friend and ambassador in the world and in the environment of the sports diplomacy – emphasises Andrzej Kraśnicki, the President of the Polish Olympic Committee.
The President of the International Olympic Committee is a gold medallist of the Olympic Games in Montreal in the team fencing tournament. Professionally, he is a lawyer. He has visited Poland many times, emphasising not only his special bonds with the Polish Olympic Committee but also a very good cooperation and friendship with the President of the NOC of Poland.
In October 2019, Thomas Bach took part, among others, in the Gala of the 100th Anniversary of the Polish Olympic Committee and in the same year, he received a title of the Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Gdansk.
The Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, which was received by the IOC’s President was established by an act of 16 October 1992. It is awarded to foreigners and Polish residents living abroad for distinguished contributions to international cooperation or cooperation between Poland and other countries and nations.
The Order is divided into 5 classes:
1st class – Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
2nd class – Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
3rd class – Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
4th class – Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
5th class – Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
The ceremony of awarding the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland was attended, among others, by the Ministers of the Chancellery of the President, Witold Bańka – the President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Olympic medallists, members of the Presidium and Board of the NOC of Poland, as well as by Sponsors and Partners of the Polish Olympic Committee and the Polish Olympic Team – Paweł Szczeszek, the President of the Management Board of Enea S.A., the Sponsor of the Polish Olympic Committee and the Polish Olympic Team, and Anna Rulkiewicz, the President of the LUXMED Group, the Main Medical Partner of the Polish Olympic Committee and the Polish Olympic Team, and a delegation of the International Olympic Committee.
Communications Office of the Polish Olympic Committee
Phot.: NOC of Poland – Szymon Sikora