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WHO Director-General Ghebreyesus awarded Olympic Order


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Lausanne, Switzerland: International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach awarded the World Health Organization the Olympic Cup for 2021, with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus awarded the Olympic Order on Tuesday.

“The WHO’s help was crucial to these Olympic Games (2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics). Without this assistance from the WHO, these Olympic Games could not have been organized in such a safe and secure way for all the participants,” Bach said after the ceremony at the Olympic House.

Bach described Ghebreyesus as “brother” for his help and advice during the COVID-19 pandemic to organize the Games in Tokyo in 2021.

“Your promise came months before the opening ceremony, when nobody could foresee how the situation would finally evolve. I think today I can reveal that your strong support was met with great scepticism and even with internal resistance at the WHO. From that moment, I knew that the Olympic Movement could trust you. I knew that in you, I have found a true brother,” Bach said.

Responding to his award, the Director-General said: “I thank in particular the WHO mass gathering team in Geneva, which strongly supported both the Tokyo and Beijing organising committees to hold safe and successful Games during the COVID-19 pandemic. These two awards reflect the WHO’s commitment to make sport healthier and safer.”

The IOC and the WHO have a partnership that stretches back to 1984, and the two organizations signed a new cooperation agreement in May 2020. In 2022, a new joint program between the IOC and the WHO was signed, and the collaboration has led to a number of joint initiatives and programs for healthier communities through sport, the latest being the Let’s Move campaign for this year’s Olympic Day.

The Olympic Cup was created in 1906 by IOC founder Pierre de Coubertin. The Olympic Cup is the highest distinction for an organization with a proven record of promoting the ideals of the Olympic Movement.

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