Kip Keino to receive Olympic Laurel distinction

04 Aug 2016
IOC News

Kip Keino (KEN) is the first ever recipient of the Olympic Laurel, a distinction created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to honour an outstanding individual for their achievements in education, culture, development and peace through sport. Keino will receive his trophy during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 tomorrow.

Kip Keino IOC/Ian Jones

Two-time Olympic champion (1968-1972) in athletics in middle- and long-distance running, Keino has been chosen by an independent judging panel from the five continents, including: Michaëlle Jean, Secretary General of La Francophonie (Americas); Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women (Africa); writer Paulo Coelho (Host Country); José Ramos-Horta, former President of Timor-Leste and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (Oceania); actor Michelle Yeoh (Asia); and IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge (Europe).

For the internationally renowned Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho: “The most deserving candidate is the one who, through his achievements and projects, helps to build a better world and advance the cause of individuals.

After retiring from competition in 1973, Kip Keino opened a children’s home, which is today home to almost 100 Kenyan orphans. In 1999, he followed with the opening of the Kip Keino School, in an isolated region lacking schools, offering more than 300 children aged from 6 to 13 the chance to get an education. In 2002, he opened the Kip Keino High Performance Training Centre, welcoming the most promising athletes in Kenya. To this day, the Olympian continues his amazing work as a an IOC Member and Chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee (KOC).

Kip Keino said: “We come into this world with nothing… and depart this world with nothing… it’s what we contribute to the community that is our legacy.” 

Starting with Rio 2016, the Olympic Laurel will be awarded at the Opening Ceremony of each edition of the Olympic Games. Symbolising the connection with the ancient Olympic Games, the stone used in the trophy comes from the site of Olympia. The creation of the Olympic Laurel is one of the initiatives that emerged from recommendation 26 of Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, to further strengthen the blending of sport and culture.

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