VITALY SMIRNOV RECEIVES EOC ORDER OF MERIT
23 November 2011
Sochi, 23 November – the highlight at the opening ceremony of the 40th general assembly of the NOCs of Europe, that started this afternoon, was the presentation of the 2011 EOC Order of Merit to Vitaly Smirnov, in the presence of deputy prime minister and president of the NOC Alexander Zhukov, IOC president Jacques Rogge, and numerous personalities from the world of European sport as well as the mayor of Sochi, the city that less than three years from now will host the XXII Olympic winter games.
A leading figure of Russian sport and a man of great stature within the Olympic Movement, Vitaly Smirnov was Russian minister for sport several times over and a longstanding president of the Russian NOC. A member of the IOC since 1971, he has been a member of the executive board twice and vice president three times, and has held many other important posts. Notably, he was also the executive president of the organising committee for the 1980 Moscow games. But above all Mr. Smirnov has always been and continues to be an indefatigable promoter of sport as a tool for the development of peace.
Over 300 participants representing 48 European NOCs, a large contingent from the IOC, delegations from the Olympic Games organising committees, the organisers of the future European Youth Olympic Festivals, the 2020 applicant cities, friends and guests of the European Olympic Movement, will spend the next day and half taking stock of this year's work and looking to future sports events, first and foremost the inaugural Innsbruck 2012 winter YOG that will start in six weeks time and the London 2012 Olympic Games that will kick off in eight months.
Another key event will be the presentation of the first Piotr Nurowski Best European Young Athlete Prize, created in memory of the president of the Polish NOC and executive committee member, Piotr Nurowski. It will be the Assembly that will elect the winner out of the 6 finalists chosen by the NOCs.
After the Assembly, the European Olympic Family will go to Moscow where it has been invited by the Russian Olympic Committee to attend the Grand Gala for the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of its constitution.