LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 23, 2010 – As part of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Day functions, Ron Froehlich of Birmingham, Ala., was presented with the Olympic Order by IOC President Jacques Rogge. Froehlich is the president of the International World Games Association, auditor for the International Gymnastics Federation and chairman emeritus of USA Gymnastics. He received the prestigious award for his outstanding service in sports administration and contributions to the Olympic movement. The function was held in conjunction with the IOC’s Executive Board meeting.
The Olympic Order is the highest award of the IOC and was created in May 1975 as a successor to the Olympic Certificate. The Olympic Order is awarded to individuals for distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement. The Olympic Order insignia resembles a collar with the five Olympic rings framed by olive branches.
Froehlich served as chairman of the Board of Directors for USA Gymnastics from 2001-08, and he was voted chairman emeritus following the conclusion of tenure. Froehlich joined the USA Gymnastics Executive Committee in 1999 and served on the USOC Board from 2001-04. He served on the Executive Committee for the 2003 World Championships and the Board of Directors for the National Gymnastics Foundation. Froehlich was awarded the USA Gymnastics Presidential Medallion, the federation’s highest honor, in 2008.
He has spent 40-plus years in international sports administration and here is a brief overview of his involvement in the worldwide Olympic movement.
International World Games Association. Froehlich has served as president of IWGA since 1992. From 1989- 92, he served as vice president of the IWGA.
SportAccord, formerly General Association of International Sports Federations. In 1992, Froehlich became a member of the GAISF Executive Board, and in 2007 he was named vice president, a position he still holds today with SportAccord.
Association of Recognized International Sports Federations. From 1997-2005, Froehlich presided over the Association of Recognized International Sports Federations (ARISF). In 2005, Froehlich was named President Emeritus of ARISF.
International Olympic Committee. From 1998-99, Froehlich joined the Commission for the Promotion of the Olympic Movement for the IOC. Froehlich was then named IOC Program Commission member from 2000 to present.
International Gymnastics Federation. Froehlich served as a member of the Executive Committee for the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) from 1999- 2000. He was elected auditor of the FIG in 2000 and continues to serve in that role today. Froehlich is also a member of the FIG Presidential Commission, a group comprised of the FIG leadership which convenes prior to each FIG Executive Committee meeting.
Ron Froehlich’s speech at the Olympic Order presentation
President, Dr. Jacques Rogge;
Members of the Executive Committee,
International Olympic Committee members,
Honored guests and colleagues,
I am indeed humbled to be here today to receive the Olympic Order.
For any one person to serve sport at all levels is an honor. It is a serious commitment that allows sports administrators to create opportunities for the millions of young people who participate in sport, as well as support the fortunate few who achieve their dreams at the highest level. Being involved as a leader in the Olympic movement is a distinguished pleasure as the IOC and its constituents work to create the peaceful gathering of athletes from around the world through such events as the Olympic Games, the World Games, World Championships, and now the upcoming Youth Olympic Games. The reward of participating in these types of undertakings defies description.
Trainers, judges, coaches, and many others who promote sports in schools, clubs, and provinces, national and international events have a vast responsibility to educate our athletes. We must all work together to promote the values of fair play, friendship, and global cooperation by bringing young people together from different cultures and geopolitical backgrounds. Through this effort, life-long friendships emerge that cross the boundaries of normal politics and territorial thinking.
In this day and age, the Olympic symbol of interlocking continents is an important beacon for society. Many administrators, such as myself, are volunteers, through our respective organizations serve as missionaries of these messages. Our work is important, and I am proud to stand together with my friends from the international Olympic Family on this journey toward sport solidarity.
None of this would be possible without the International Olympic Committee and staff. The staff are a pleasure to work with, and they play a vital role in our success. We all share a great responsibility to preserve the vitality of the IOC and the Olympic Games. Without these institutions, the prospects of global peace would suffer.
I would like to thank everyone who has supported my journey in the Olympic movement. Many of you are here today and it means so much to share this moment with you.
Most importantly, I want to recognize my family. My wife Shirley and daughter Elana, who are with us today; as well as my son, daughter in law, son in law, and my grandchildren who were unable to be join us. I thank them for the support they have given me all these years. How fortunate I am.
Once again, Mr. President, I thank you for your kind words, and I am grateful for this honor.