International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons has paid tribute and expressed his heartfelt condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of Georgios Fountoulakis, the former President of the Hellenic Paralympic Committee (NPC Greece), following his passing.
Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “Georgios was a very dear and much-loved friend of mine and I am deeply saddened at his passing. On behalf of the IPC, Paralympic Movement and my family, I would like to pass on my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at the Hellenic Paralympic Committee. I know they will be devastated, as I am, at this terrible news.
“Georgios was a man full of energy, enthusiasm and emotion. His passion and zest for life was boundless, the love for his family and the Paralympic Movement immeasurable.
“He was a pioneer, a leader, a great father and a wonderful friend. His outstanding work in developing the Paralympic Movement saw him recognised with the Paralympic Order in 2015 and I for one could not have been prouder.
“Not only did he effectively establish the Hellenic Paralympic Committee, but he and his team worked tirelessly to develop a world leading development project for refugee athletes. He will be sorely missed by those who knew him. He is man I will never forget.”
Fountoulakis was last re-elected President of the Hellenic Paralympic Committee in March 2017 and was set to lead the Greek Paralympic Team to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Under his presidency, Greece achieved their second-best performance ever at a Paralympics, winning five golds, four silvers and four bronze medals at Rio 2016.
In 2015 Fountoulakis was awarded with the Paralympic Order, the highest tribute a person connected with the Paralympic Movement can achieve, by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for his contributions to the Paralympic Movement.
Fountoulakis worked for the Hellenic Power Company (DEI), where he began to fight for the rights of employees, such as people with impairments. At the same time, he competed in wheelchair basketball, and through sport, he got involved with administration. His tireless efforts led to the development of sports federations for athletes with impairments and eventually the Hellenic Paralympic Committee.
Through the National Sports Federation for Persons with Disabilities and the Hellenic Paralympic Committee, Fountoulakis extended the Paralympic Movement throughout Greece.
He became Chef de Mission of the Hellenic Paralympic delegation at Athens 2004 and London 2012, and Deputy Chef de Mission in Sydney 2000. He was also Chef de Mission of numerous national teams in World and European Championships.