Pierre de Coubertin medal

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The Pierre de Coubertin medal (also known as the De Coubertin medal or the True Spirit of Sportsmanship medal) is a special decoration awarded by the International Olympic Committee to those athletes, former athletes, sports promoters, sporting officials and others who exemplify the spirit of sportsmanship in Olympic events or through exceptional service to the Olympic movement.[1][2]

The medal was inaugurated in 1964 and named in honour of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee. According to the Olympic Museum, it "is one of the noblest honours that can be bestowed upon an Olympic athlete."[3]


Recipient Country Accomplishment(s) Date Place
Eugenio Monti  Italy 1964 Winter Olympics 1964 Innsbruck, Austria
Franz Jonas[4]  Austria July 1969 Vienna, Austria
Karl Heinz Klee  Austria 1976 Winter Olympics February 1977 Innsbruck, Austria
Lawrence Lemieux  Canada 1988 Summer Olympics September 1988 Seoul, South Korea
Justin Harley McDonald  Australia 1994 Winter Olympics 1994 Lillehammer, Norway
Raymond Gafner   Switzerland 1999
Emil Zátopek  Czechoslovakia 1952 Summer Olympics 6 December 2000
(awarded posthumously)
Helsinki, Finland
Spencer Eccles  United States 2002 Winter Olympics February 2002 Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Tana Umaga  New Zealand 2003 Rugby Test Match June 2003 Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Martin Franken  Netherlands In recognition of his contribution to the promotion of the Olympic Movement and services to the IOC 16 November 2006 by the IOC President Lausanne, Switzerland
Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima[5]  Brazil 2004 Summer Olympics 29 August 2004 Athens, Greece
Elena Novikova-Belova  Belarus 2007 XI International Scientific Congress 17 May 2007 Minsk, Belarus
Shaul Ladany  Israel "Unusual outstanding sports achievements during a span covering over four decades"[6] 17 May 2007 Minsk, Belarus
Petar Cupać  Croatia 2008 Summer Olympics 18 November 2008 Beijing, China
Ivan Bulaja
Pavle Kostov
Ronald Harvey  Australia 2 April 2009
Eric Monnin  France Olympic education specialist 2012
Bob Nadin  Canada Ice hockey referee 2012
Richard Garneau  Canada 2014 Winter Olympics 6 February 2014
(awarded posthumously)
Sochi, Russia
Manfred Bergman  Israel For services rendered to the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic cause December, 2008
Lausanne, Switzerland
Michael Hwang[7]  Singapore "Exceptional services to the Olympic movement" 13 October 2014 Singapore, Singapore
Eduard von Falz-Fein[8]  Liechtenstein "Long service to the Olympic movement" 17 February 2017 Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Lü Junjie  China Zisha artist[9] 16 January 2018 Lausanne, Switzerland
Han Meilin[10]  China Chinese artist most recognized today for his creation of the Fuwa dolls for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. 24 April 2018 Lausanne, Switzerland

Some news media reported on 22 August 2016 that Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D'Agostino had received the medal after colliding with each other on the track during the 5000m event and assisting each other to continue the race.[11] The New Zealand Olympic Committee said that no such award had yet been made,[12] and The Guardian later corrected their report confirming "the award was the International Fair Play Committee Award rather than the Pierre de Coubertin award".[11]


“Nash didn't win because I gave him the bolt. He won because he had the fastest run.”
Eugenio Monti when interviewed after giving a bolt from his own bobsled to his competitors, the British bobsled team, at the 1964 Winter Olympics. Monti was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for his sportsmanship.
“It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler... You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn't be a plating on the twenty-four karat friendship that I felt for Luz Long at that moment."
Jesse Owens after being advised by his competitor, Luz Long, at the 1936 Summer Olympics. Long was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for his sportsmanship.[13]
"I can't accept Emanuel's medal. I'm happy with mine. It's bronze but means gold."
Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima, in September 1, 2004, after Brazilian beach volleyball player Emanuel Rego, who won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, gave his gold medal to him on a television program. Deeply touched, Vanderlei returned it.[14]
"Victory due to the opponents’ inadequate equipment is not a merit. Co-operation among sports people is a fundamental part of Olympism."
- Australian Justin Harley McDonald, Bobsleigh, who won the Pierre de Coubertin Fair Play Trophy 1994 for Act of Fair Play. McDonald was the first Australian to be awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Fair Play Trophy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BBC SPORT - Olympics 2008 blog". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Random Human Neural Firings: February 2010". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Angel or demon? The choice of fair play". Archived from the original on 26 October 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  4. ^ Newsletter No. 22, Comité international olympique, Château de Vidy 1007 Lausanne, p. 402
  5. ^ "Lima Vanderlei receives the Pierre de Coubertin medal - Olympic News". 21 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Sports Shorts – Israel News". Haaretz. 12 September 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Singapore Lawyer Michael Hwang receives the Pierre de Coubertin Medal for his Services to the Olympic Movement - Singapore National Olympic Council". 13 October 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  8. ^ "IOC President visits Liechtenstein - International Olympic Committee". 17 February 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  9. ^ "IOC awards Pierre de Coubertin medal to Chinese artist Lv Junjie - Xinhua - English.news.cn". www.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Chinese artist awarded Coubertin Medal at IOC headquarters in Lansanne". Xinhua. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  11. ^ a b "New Zealand and US runners awarded for sportsmanship". The Guardian. 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Rio Olympics: Kiwi runner Nikki Hamblin in line for rare Pierre de Coubertin honour". Stuff. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  13. ^ Schwartz, Larry (2007). "ESPN.com: Owens pierced a myth". Retrieved August 14, 2008.
  14. ^ "Emanuel surpreende e oferece sua medalha de ouro para Vanderlei Cordeiro" [Emanuel surprises and offers his gold medal to Vanderlei Cordeiro] (in Portuguese). Folha Online. September 1, 2004. Retrieved August 8, 2012.