Jacques Rogge is no stranger to awards. As President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), he spent more than a decade hanging gold, silver and bronze medals around the necks of the world's finest athletes, but the Belgian sports administrator also has his own long track record of receiving prizes.
The former head of the Olympic Movement, 71, has been singled out for distinctions by numerous countries and in various different fields, and he now has another honour to add to the list. In recognition of his exemplary record of service to sport, both on the field and behind the scenes, Rogge was presented with the FIFA Presidential Award 2013 at the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2013 ceremony on Monday 13 January at Zurich's Kongresshaus.
"At a difficult time for the IOC, his refreshing, intelligent and humble approach to leadership took the Olympic Movement into an exciting era, with the Games in Salt Lake City, Athens, Turin, Beijing, Vancouver and London the high points," explained FIFA President Blatter, before welcoming Rogge on stage.
"He worked tirelessly to defend the integrity of international sport, combat doping and promote new events, such as the inclusion of snowboarding and BMX at the Olympic Games. In addition, he launched the Youth Olympic Games."
A life dedicated to sport
Taking over from Juan Antonio Samaranch in 2001, Rogge held the position of IOC President until 2013, having climbed through the ranks in sports administration. Chef de Mission at the Winter Games in Innsbruck in 1976 and Calgary in 1988, as well as the Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 Summer Games, he was also President of the Belgian National Olympic Committee from 1989 to 1992 and served as President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC). A member, too, of the World Anti-Doping Agency's Foundation Board after it was set up in 1999, Rogge first joined the IOC in 1991.
Before his myriad achievements in sports administration, Rogge had already carved out an exemplary career in medicine. Educated at Ghent University, he specialised in sports surgery and medicine, and worked as an orthopaedic surgeon as well as teaching sports medicine at the Universite Libre in Brussels and his alma mater.
While dedicating his time to the health of athletes, Rogge likewise experienced plenty of success as a sportsman in his own right. He contested the Finn-class yachting events at the 1968, 1972 and 1978 Olympic Games, and was Belgian champion 16 times. He played rugby for many years as well, and made ten appearances for Belgium's national team in addition to winning the Belgian title with ASUB Waterloo.
Knighted by the King of Belgium in 2002 and awarded the French Legion of Honour in 2011, Rogge has therefore dedicated his entire life to sport and the ongoing mission to improve it. "This is the man who put the Olympic Movement back on the right track and gave it stability for the future," added President Blatter. "By doing so, he set an example for all of us."
Rogge succeeds Franz Beckenbauer as the most recent recipient of the FIFA Presidential Award, Der Kaiser having been handed the prize in 2012.