28 November 2018

The first day of the XXIII ANOC General Assembly concluded with the awards ceremony in Tokyo, Japan today 28 November.

The outstanding performances of the best athletes and teams at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games were awarded and many prizes were presented to Europe.

The first category to be announced is the “Best Female Team of PyeongChang 2018” and the winner is the Swedish Curling Team. The  girls from Sweden (Anna Hasselborg, Sara McManus, Agnes Knochenhauer, Sofia Mabergs, Jennie Waahlin) won a gold medal at this year’s Winter Games, overcoming host nation South Korea in the final.

Another success for our continent was secured by Norway, who received the award for “Most successful NOC of PyeongChang 2018”. The Norwegian delegation topped the medals table at the Games earlier this year, claiming a total of 14 golds, 14 silver and 11 bronze medals.

While the “Best Female Athlete of Pyeongchang 2018” award goes to Italian speed skater Arianna Fontana, who was Italy’s flagbearer at the Games where she earned three medals. Fontana clinched a maiden Olympic title by triumphing in the women’s 500 metres short track speed skating event and also won 1000m bronze and 3000m relay silver at PyeongChang 2018. In her career, she has achieved a total of eight Olympic medals.

Again from Europe, Bjørn Dæhlie was named winner of the “Outstanding Athlete” prize in recognition of his glittering career in cross-country skiing. The Norwegian claimed eight Olympic gold medals during his career, with only compatriots Marit Bjørgen and Ole Einar Bjørndalen matching the tally. Along with his 12 Olympic medals in total, Dæhlie won nine world titles during his career.

Last but definitely not least, the “Contribution to the Olympic Movement” award, which was given to Italian Mario Pescante. Pescante, who is considered one of the most influential personality in the Olympic movement, is retiring as an IOC member at the end of the year and will become an IOC Honorary Member. The Italian has served as Secretary General and President of the Italian National Olympic Committee. He also was President of the European Olympic Committees for five years and an ANOC vice-president for the same period.

For the category “Breakthrough NOCs of PyeongChang 2018”, the awards were given to all countries who made their Winter Olympic Games debuts at the Games in the South Korean: Kosovo, Ecuador, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore.

Others acknowledgements were presented to: American snowboarder Shaun White for the “Best Male athlete of PyeongChang2018”; the US Curling Team for the “Best Male Team of PyeongChang 2018”, along with the ANOC Award for Most Inspirational Performance, which was given to South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim, and the “Inspiring hope through sport” award, which was presented to the Unified Korean ice hockey Team.