On Tuesday, November 16, the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach was a guest at the Olympic Centre of the NOC of Poland, where he met students attending schools related to the Olympic movement.
Thomas Bach came to Poland for a two-day visit at the invitation of the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda who the day before handed him the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. 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.
On the second day of his visit to Warsaw, Thomas Bach visited the headquarters of the Polish Olympic Committee. The meeting was attended by members of the IOC delegation: Joanna Zipser-Graves – Head of NOC Management and Knowledge Sharing, Olympic Solidarity, Mark Adams – Spokesman Services Director, Marina Baramia – IOC Chief of Protocol and PA to the IOC President, Greg Martin – Production & Management, as well as by: Andrzej Kraśnicki – President of the Polish Olympic Committee, Adam Krzesiński – Secretary General of the Polish Olympic Committee, Iwona Łotysz – Deputy Secretary General of the Polish Olympic Committee, Kajetan Hądzelek – President of the Foundation „The Committee of Pierre de Coubertin in Poland”, Hanna Wawrowska – Chairperson of the Fair Play Club of the Polish Olympic Committee, Jacek Zawadka – President of the Polish Judo Federation, Sławomir Majcher – Director of the Museum of Sport and Tourism in Warsaw, Urszula Jankowska – member of the Methodological Team at the Institute of Sport and the Polish Olympic medallists and Olympians: Janusz Pyciak-Peciak, Dariusz Goździak, Agnieszka Kobus-Zawojska, Luiza Złotkowska, Aneta Szczepańska, Iwona Marcinkiewicz and Marian Sypniewski.
However, the key part on that day was played by the school students from all over Poland who came to the Olympic Centre to talk to the IOC President. The meeting started with a judo show of the players of MKS “Olimpijczyk” Włocławek prepared under the watchful eye of the trainer, the Olympic medallist from Atlanta (1996) – Aneta Szczepańska.
Next, the students of the above-mentioned schools gave their presentations: the Primary School of Pierre de Coubertin in Budy Siennickie, the Primary School no. 323 of the Polish Olympians in Warsaw, the Primary School of Janusz Kusociński in Pacyna, the Social Primary School no. 26 STO of Jigoro Kano in Warsaw and the Wroclaw University of Health and Sport Sciences.
The students during the presentations showed their connections to the Olympic movement and talked about the selected sports events attended very often by the Polish Olympic medallists and Olympians. The students from Pacyna presented, among others an Olympic flag with autographs of medallists and Olympians as well as the former IOC President, Juan Antonio Samaranch. Thomas Bach also put his sign on the flag.
The host of the meeting, Katarzyna Deberny, an Olympian in sailing from Beijing (2008), currently the Director of the Olympic Culture and Education Department at the Polish Olympic Committee, presented the educational activity of the Polish Olympic Committee. A presentation regarding the Fair Play Award was given by Hanna Wawrowska – the Chairperson of the Fair Play Club of the Polish Olympic Committee.
Then the honorary guest, Thomas Bach, took the floor: “I am very glad that I was able to see very interesting presentations of schools and the involvement of the Polish Olympic Committee in sport and Olympic education, which left me speechless. The number of events and activities organised by you is very impressive and I can see the commitment coming straight from the heart. The reference to the ideas and mission of Pierre de Coubertin is really important as sport and culture work together because they unite people in many ways and teach such important values as peace and respect.”
Finally, Thomas Bach answered the questions asked by the students and held an interesting conversation about sport, Olympism, his path to the Olympic championship in fencing, which his trainer convinced him to play when he wanted to play football. Thomas Bach said that the sport teaches not only to win but also to lose, but encouraged the children to never give up.
At the end of the meeting, all students were invited to visit Lausanne, the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee. “See you in Lausanne,” concluded Thomas Bach.
Communications Office of the Polish Olympic Committee
Photo: NOC of Poland – Szymon Sikora