22 May 2015
IOC President Thomas Bach was in Rome to receive the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI)’s highest award for contribution to sport.
He started the day at the Palazzo Quirinale for a meeting with the Italian President.
The leaders discussed the benefits of sport for society. President Sergio Mattarella said: “the world has many problems. Sport is the antidote to those problems because it enters the hearts and minds of people.”
The two leaders also discussed Rome's bid for the 2024 Olympic Games.
President Bach said that Italy was “very well placed”. “With your great attachment to Olympic ideals, with your athletes and your love of sport you will have a strong bid”, he said, adding: “But you will face strong competition.”
Also at the meeting with the Italian President were CONI President Giovanni Malagò and IOC Members Franco Carraro and Mario Pescante.
As part of the Invitation Phase initiated in the framework of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms, the President also met members of the Rome 2024 Olympic bid, including leader Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo and the Mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino.
Later, at the award ceremony, the President was given the “Onesti Award”, named after the long term President of CONI for 34 years until 1978. In the citation, President Bach was praised for “immersing himself in his work with passion” and for “carrying out reforms whilst also respecting tradition.”
Receiving the award, President Bach said he was “glad to be in Italy where you fight for and defend the Olympic values.”
Also at the ceremony were the President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), Francesco Ricci Bitti; the President of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), Carlo Croce; the President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), Bruno Grandi; and the Presidents of the International Skating Union (ISU), Ottavio Cinquanta, and of the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT), Ivo Ferriani.
Previous recipients of the award include Italian sporting icons Alberto Tomba, Sara Simeoni and Pietro Mennea, as well as previous IOC Presidents Juan Antonio Samaranch and Jacques Rogge.