RIO DE JANEIRO, August 8, 2016 - Around 100 members of the media were joined by Olympic Champions, partners and guests on Monday morning as a new chapter in the celebration of Olympic journalism was written at the iconic Tokyo2020 Japan House at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Journalists who have covered 10 or more Olympic Games in careers and an outstanding dedication spanning over three decades, were honoured with limited edition Rio 2016 replica torches provided by AIPS Gold Partners and official Olympic merchandiser Honav.
A LOOK TO TOKYO 2020
Olympic hammer throw champion from Athens 2004 and bronze medalist from London 2012, Japan's Foji Murafushi welcomed journalists to the Tokyo 2020 Japan House, the home of the next Games, and hailed the powerful role of the media within the Olympic movement.
"I am honoured to be here and welcome so many members of the media who are crucial to the very existence of the Olympic Games, whose next home will be Tokyo in four years' time. I look forward to welcoming everyone here to Tokyo, where we will continue the celebration of the Games and its outstanding coverage."
"Tokyo will have five new sports on the program in 2020, which means so many new stories to tell," the 2011 World hammer throw champion said.
AIPS President Gianni Merlo delivered his initial speech by thanking Honav and Tokyo 2020 for their support and by congratulating all the veteran journalists present and underlining: “Here in Rio we have faced some serious matters and our hope is that Tokyo2020 will deliver a more journalist-friendly Games. Our important role is not even considered in Agenda2020."
Four-time Olympic gold medalist, winner of eight World Championships gold medals, and the holder of both the world and Olympic records in the 400 m, one of the mostly highly regarded Olympians in the world, Laureus Academy member Michael Johnson was just one of the champions that honored veteran journalists at the Tokyo 2020 Japan House, explaining that media was a crucial pillar of the Olympic Games.
"We are here to celebrate journalists for their contribution to the Olympics, and the effort the put in to bringing the Games to the public around the world," the US sprinting legend and Olympian said.
Johnson also explained the crucial role of Laureus in sport, which, in celebrating excellence, harnesses the positive power of sport for good, foremost in tackling society's most pressing challenges around the globe.
The first journalist to be called to the stage was Italian veteran sports photographer Giuliano Bevilacqua of The World of Sports Agency who is covering a milestone 25th Olympic Games in Rio (13 Summer and 12 Winter). He was presented with a Rio 2016 replica torch by one of the most highly regarded Olympic veterans - HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco, who competed in both Summer and Winter Games spanning over decades himself, and who highlighted the dedication and passion of the media.
Bevilacqua explained that the passion for the Games has led to superhuman efforts, especially for photographers.
"Being a photographer at the Olympic Games, finding the right position, the right angle for a shot all while carrying around all of our equipment is one of the most enduring practices there is. We are superheroes of our own. Having covered the Games and done this, for so many years is something to be proud of," Bevilacqua said.
Germany's Hartmut Scherzer, honored on Monday for having covered 21 Olympic Games, has been working as a freelance sports journalist for over 50 years.
"Being here and being recognized by AIPS for my coverage of the Olympics makes me proud. My first Games, were in 1964, and I hope that God will give me the gratitude to be in Tokyo in 2020. Then the circle of my life in Olympic journalism closes after 52 years."
Scherzer also revealed his most memorable Olympic moment out of the countless he has been a part of.
"I was the one who had to tell Karl Schranz that [IOC president] Avery Brundage had kicked him out of the Olympics in Sapporo in 1972, because he was a professional. In those days the problem was whether you were a professional or an amateur and Brundage hated professionals. I was the one who got the news from my agency - United Press International. When Karl Schranz came down the slope from training, I told him 'Karl you have to go home, no medals'."
These are the stories, and those who tell them, that AIPS, as the International Sports Press Association has committed itself to honouring at every Olympic Games to come.
The list of Journalists who have covered 10 or more Olympic Games:
Giuliano Bevilacqua The World of Sports Agency Italy 25
Peter A. Frei Sportinformation Switzerland 24
David Miller Times, Daily Great Britain 24
Giovanni Merlo La Gazzetta dello Sport Italy 22
Alain Luzenfichter Honorary Member France 21
Harmut Scherzer Freelance Germany 21
John Powers Boston Globe US 20
Neil Wilson Daily Mail Great Britain 20
Donna De Varona IOC USA 19
Robert Maksimov L.Atletika Russia 19
Heinz Prueller Kronen Zeitung Austria 19
Philipe Hersh USA 18
Petz Lahure Tageblatt Luxemburg 18
Volker Kluge Journal of Olympic History Germany 18
Christine Brennan USA Today USA 17
Soenar Chamid Soenar Chamid Sportfotografie 17
Tim Donnelly AP USA 17
Denis Paquin AP USA 17
Koji Aoki Aflo Japan Japan 17
Angela Bern AFP France 16
Astolfo Cagnacci AFP France 16
Brian Cazeneuve USA magazine Sports Illustrated US 16
Cam Cole Vancouver Sun Canada 16
Niklas Henrichson YLE/ Finnish Broadcasting Company Finland 16
Jurgen Magh Sport-Informations-Dienst (SID) Germany 16
E.-Friedbert Raulf freelance Germany 16
Steve Simmons Toronto Sun Canada 16
Wlodzimierz SZARANOWICZ Poland 16
Arthur Thill ATP press & photo agency Germany 16
Michael Berger ORF SPORT-AKTUELL Austria 15
Alexander CHERNYKH Russian Photo News Agency Russia 15
Vladimir Drbohlav Czech Television Czech Republic 15
Sergey Kivrin http://www.golovanov-kivrin.ru/ Russia 15
Lembitu Kuuse ERR Estonia 15
Jim Litke AP USA 15
Lee Martin Getty Images Great Britain 15
Karen Rosen teamusa.org US 15
Andreas Schirmer DPA International Germany 15
Herbert Slavík WWA photo - photo agency Czech Republic 15
Dariusz SZPAKOWSKI Poland 15
Stefano Vegliani Mediaset Italy 15
Mats Wennerholm Aftonbladet Sweden 15
Steve Wilson AP France 15
Hiro Yakushi ATP photo agency/Germany Japan 15
Rivo Saarna Receiving the award for Lembito Kuuse 15
Charles E. Belle National Newspaper Publishers Asscioation USA 14
Raf Casert AP BELGIUM 14
Christopher Clarey The New York Times USA 14
Tim Dahlberg AP USA 14
Paloma del Río TVE Spain 14
Richard Demak Sport Illustrated USA 14
Rosie DiManno Toronto Star Canada 14
Marek JOZWIK Poland 14
Gary Kemper IOC USA 14
Adrian Warner Reuters, BBC UK 14
Francois Xavier-Marit 14
Vincent Amalvy AFP 13
Luuk Blijboom De Telegraaf The Netherlands 13
Franco Bragagna RAI Italy 13
Clive Brunskill Getty Images Germany 13
Charles Camenzuli Sport Extra Malta 13
Tengiz Gachechiladze Daily Sports Newspaper “LELO” 13
John Goodbody Sunday Times Great Britain 13
Beth Harris AP USA 13
Ed Hula Around the Rings US 13
Duncan Mackay Inside the Games Great Britain 13
Jugder Otgontsagaan MSPU Mongolia 13
Lev Rossoshik Championat.com Russia 13
Bengt Skott SESR Sweden 13
Jonh Volkers De Volkskrant Netherlands 13
Thorsten vom Wege ARD Germany 13
Jie Zhou XINHUA NEWS AGENCY China 13
Emanuela Audisio La Repubblica Italy 12
John Bagratuni DPA Internationa Germany 12
Georgi Banov 24 Chasa Bulgaria 12
Olaf Brockmann Neue Kronen-Zeitung Austria 12
Nicolae Buceatchi NOC Moldova Press Officer Moldova 12
Camillo Cametti Il Mondo del Nuoto Italy 12
Ian Chadband Olympic News Service UK 12
Per-Kristian Eriksen NTB Norway 12
Andrey Golovanov http://www.golovanov-kivrin.ru/ Russia 12
Nicole Jeffery The Australian Australia 12
Paul Newberry AP USA 12
Maris Rimenis Latvian TV Latvia 12
Henk Stouwdam NRC Handelsblad The Netherlands 12
Ivana Vaccari RAI Italy 12
Wakako Yuki The Yomiuri Shimbun Japan 12
Mattia Chiusano La Repubblica Italy 12
Jakub Bazant Czech Tv Czech Republic 11
Lars Becker freelance Germany 11
Dainis Caune Sporto.lv Latvia 11
Michal Dusik Czech Television Czech Republic 11
Espen Hartvig NTB Norway 11
Jiang Hong XINHUA NEWS AGENCY China 11
Sheila S. Hula Around the Rings USA 11
Warren Levinson AP USA 11
Jacquelin Magnay The Australian Australia 11
Janusz PINDERA Poland 11
Dmitry Tarasov Podmoskovie Russia 11
Esat Yilmaer Turkey 11
Youssef Berjaoui Assafir NP Lebanon 10
Steve Buffery Toronto Sun/Post Media Canada 10
Andrew Cowie Colorsport UK 10
David Finch Getty Images Great Britain 10
David Harrison ONS UK 10
Xu Jiren Xinhua News Agency China 10
Kumi Kinohara freelance Japan 10
Anatolijs Kreipans Latvian TV Latvia 10
Tim Layden Sport Illustrated USA 10
Martin Masafret Swiss Television SRF Switzerland 10
Takamitsu Mifune PHOTO KISHIMOTO CORPORATION Japan 10
Chultem Otgonbaatar MSPU Mongolia 10
Marek Rudzinski Poland 10
Marc Ventouillac L'Equipe France 10
Nicholas Wolaver Olympic Rings And Other Things 10
Igor Zolotarev Fooball-Hockey JU, Sporivnaya Panorama Russia 10
Sergio Dovio Dovio Producciones Argentina 10
Alessandro Trovati Pentaphoto Italy 10
Franco Fava Il Corriere della Sera Italy 10
Alvaro José Band Sports Brazil 10