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ISAF Annual Awards ceremony (Αγγλικό κείμενο)
Σάββατο, 17 Νοέμβριος 2001 19:54

ISAF LOGOThe following speech was given by His Majesty King Constantine at the annual awards ceremony of the International Sailing Federation, which took place in Lisbon from the 9th to the 17th of November 2001.

"Mr. President, welcome to our federation. Your beautiful country is steeped in sailing history, having launched several of the world's leading seafaring explorers.

From past personal experience, Mr. President, I know how busy a head of state is. That you took the time to honor us with your presence gives us all a feeling that what we are trying to achieve here is worthwhile. Maybe in return we can ask the President of our federation to teach you to sail. And if you already know how to sail, perhaps you can persuade him to fix any problems with your plumbing?

May I ask of all the sailing delegates here tonight to join me in thanking the Portuguese Sailing Federation for the gracious hospitality.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are privileged and delighted to have the new President of the IOC with us tonight. Had any of the other candidates won and had the imagination to come here today, I would have had to spend time giving you their background. But Jacques Rogge is one of us! He sailed in three Olympic games -1968, 72 and 76. And for many years he was a member and chairman of our ISAF Medical Commission.

The other day I asked Jacques if we had ever sailed against each other. He replied "No, he didn't think so", but reminded me that we first met in the 1971 pre-Olympics at Kiel. I was driving into the sailing compound with my Soling, and Jacques walked in front of my car to get to his Finn. He claims I nearly ran him over.

History does not relate whose fault it was. I don't know if I would have done more damage to him or my car, but I certainly would have damaged the future of the IOC. Jacques, all of us here would like to pay tribute to your predecessor Juan Antonio Samaranch and wish him well. We are grateful that, during his presidency, our sport enjoyed increased presence in the Olympics. And no one should be happier with Mr. Samaranch than the Star Class.

I understand from President Henderson that for many years you and he competed against one another in the Finn Class. Paul tells me that more often than not you beat him. Being a very good sportsman, I know he will not hold it against you.

Unfortunately, last year I had to miss this event for personal reasons, so I never had the chance to congratulate the winners, Mark, Magnus and Shirley. Therefore, I also missed seeing our President in a kilt. This year however, I have been rewarded in seeing him wearing a variety of colorful Chinese jackets. My only concern is whether he now wants us to address him as Chairman Paul.

Peter Siemsen, every sailor here this evening is delighted that you have won the Beppe Croce award. One of the top sailors of his time, Peter for many years was also a Vice President of our Federation. He was instrumental in modernizing our sport's eligibility and advertising codes. This was perhaps the most difficult task our Federation undertook in the 41 years I have been attending these meeting.

Ellen and Robert, congratulations on your tremendous success and best wishes for more of the same.

In view of the fact that I was charged with the responsibility of chairing the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards Shortlist Panel, I have recommended to the Executive Committee that they consider the introduction of an Award for Special Achievement, which will be presented annually during the ISAF November Conference. I suggest that this Award will be presented in recognition of a special achievement, which is not necessarily related to performance or results.

2001 was another great year for our sport. There were many highlights, but one in particular -the America's Cup Jubilee at Cowes in August.

The Jubilee celebrated 150 years of international yacht racing. The start of the Round-the Island race was a sight to behold. Two hundred and five yachts participated including the replica of the yacht America, 3 J-Boats, 36 Twelve Meters, 9 of the modern Cup Class yachts, dozens of classic yachts and several of the latest high-tech racing machines. Some said the Isle of Wight that week was the Woodstock of sailing. No other sport can lay claim to such a long and colourful history.

At this point I would like to pay special tribute to an old friend, Olin Stephens, for his lifetime of successful including many of the great yachts, which participated at the Jubilee. I believe Olin is here with us this evening.

Youth sailing appears stronger than ever. France again defended their title as top nation at the Volvo ISAF Youth Worlds for the fifth consecutive year. Other countries might be wise to look to the French Federation for developing their top juniors. On behalf of all of us here, May I wish successful and safe sailing to all the teams in the Volvo Ocean Race, as you begin your leg from Cape Town to Sydney across the very challenging and at times dangerous Southern Ocean.

2002 will see the first of two sailing test events for the 2004 Olympics. They will take place in Agios Kosmas near Athens, and I am convinced that, along with the Olympic Regatta, they will be a great success.

President Henderson, we thank you, your Vice Presidents, the treasurer, Secretary General ArveSunheim and all of his staff for another year of tireless work on behalf of our sport. All of us appreciate very much the countless hours and dedication.

Ladies and gentlemen, since the appalling events of 11th September the world is going through a traumatic period. My family and I have just returned from Ground Zero in New York. One is immediately struck by the magnitude of the devastation; it is much greater than what one sees on television. Even a place of worship, the Greek Orthodox Church - the oldest in the United States- named after Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors completely disappeared. Our hearts go out to all the families and friends of the thousands who lost their lives that day.

While some people in the world work to tear it apart, the people in this room work to bring common understanding and shared passion. Here tonight are delegates from the four corners of the world. Our sport has more nations participating than almost any other sport on earth. Let us compete on the water but cooperate on shore. After all, what unites us is the love for our sport of sailing".