The International Paralympic Committee’s President Sir Philip Craven presented former IOC President Count Jacques Rogge with the Paralympic Order at an event in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday evening (9 February).
The Paralympic Order is the highest tribute a person connected with the Paralympic Movement can achieve. It was presented to Count Rogge at the Belgian Paralympic Committee’s Paralympic Gala for his unwavering support of the Paralympic Movement.
In a speech before presenting the award, Sir Philip spoke about first meeting Count Rogge at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Great Britain when the Belgian was a young orthopaedic surgeon. He then went on to highlight Count Rogge’s impact on supporting the Paralympic Movement in his role as IOC President.
Sir Philip said: “Under Jacques leadership, the relationship between the IOC and IPC grew even stronger. His commitment showed that the Olympic Movement is universal and highlighted the important that the Paralympic Games have in promoting sport to the youth of the world – one of the fundamental principles of Olympism.
“Together in our roles as IOC and IPC Presidents we signed a number of partnership agreements which, not only provided significant stability to the IPC and Paralympic Movement, but provided us with a solid foundation from which to grow.
“It is certain to say that without Jacques and the IOC’s support the Paralympic Games would not have grown into the sporting spectacle that it is today. He saved the IPC from financial disaster and, throughout his IOC Presidency, provided assistance to make us a far better and stronger organisation.
“The Paralympic Movement will forever be grateful to his support of Jacques Rogge,” added Sir Philip.
In receiving the award, Count Rogge said: "I am very honoured, I do not know if I deserve this award but it is very nice. With Sir Philip Craven, we have always worked in a spirit of bilateral collaboration. I wish the best to the Paralympic Movement, that it evolves towards more recognition and visibility because it deserves it.”
The Paralympic Order was first awarded in 1994 and previous recipients have included former Sir Ludwig Guttmann, founder of the Paralympic Movement, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch and Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the IAAF.
The Order honours someone who has exemplified the Paralympic ideals through their actions, made remarkable strides in Paralympic Sport or rendered outstanding services the Paralympic cause.