Malcolm Arnold from Team GB and Ulla Koch from Team Germany win IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards

15 Jan 2020
IOC News Press Release

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced the names of the coaches who will receive the IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards in recognition of their exceptional work carried out with athletes throughout their careers.

The 2019 winners are athletics coach Malcolm Arnold from Great Britain and artistic gymnastic coach Ulla Koch from Germany. They will receive the award this Friday, 17 January 2020, during a ceremony to be held at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, in the presence of IOC President Thomas Bach and members of the IOC Athletes’ and Athletes’ Entourage Commissions.

The IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards is an annual event honouring and recognising the work of coaches who have gone above and beyond to develop and nurture athletes in the spirit of Olympism. The award is being delivered by the IOC Athletes’ Entourage Commission to celebrate one male and one female coach, active or retired, who harbour the qualities of a great coach, have participated in at least one edition of the Olympic Games and supported athletes on the road to their sporting dreams.

“Congratulations to the two winners on this prestigious award,” said IOC President Thomas Bach, Olympic champion in fencing, 1976, commenting on the announcement. “This is a recognition of the fundamental role that these coaches had on generations of athletes, inspiring them with the Olympic values and helping them realise their dreams. I know from my own experience the fundamental role coaches play in a career of an athlete.”

Malcolm Arnold trained athletes from all around the world over a career that spanned almost 60 years, until he retired in 2016. He trained three Olympic champions, from Uganda, Canada and Great Britain, and his athletes held world records in the 60m hurdles, the 110m hurdles, the 200m hurdles and the 400m hurdles.

Malcolm began his career as a physical education teacher, before heading to Uganda to become the Head Coach of the Athletics Federation. He led John Akii-Bua to African history when John became Africa’s first Olympic champion at Munich 1972. Malcolm then headed Welsh Athletics and British Athletics, and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen of the United Kingdom in 2012 for services to athletics.

Ulla Koch started her artistic gymnastics coaching career in 1975, and has been the national Head Coach of the German team since 2005, leading athletes to 34 international medals.

Ulla has coached athletes at two Youth Olympic Games, 10 World Championships, 14 European Championships and 3 Olympic Games, and she is currently preparing for Tokyo 2020.

Along with coaching, Ulla has also held other roles including having been the Chair of the National Technical Committee of the German Gymnastics Federation. She is also on the Coaches Commission of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and was presented with the Equal Opportunities Award by the DOSB in 2016 for her achievements in fostering women as coaches.

The IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards aim to raise awareness of the importance of the athletes’ entourage and recognise the key role coaches play in supporting athletes beyond their sporting careers

“The quality of the relationship athletes have with their coaches is crucial for them,” commented Sergey Bubka, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Entourage Commission, and Olympic champion in pole vaulting, 1988. “When we launched this award three years ago, we wanted to put a spotlight on the coaches’ role, on and off the field of play. I warmly congratulate Malcom and Ulla as I think they perfectly embody the values that our Commission is promoting, and I am sure their work will inspire many other coaches,” Bubka stressed.

The winners were selected from a pool of coaches nominated by Olympians, International Federations, National Olympic Committees, members of the IOC Athletes’ and Athletes’ Entourage Commissions and IOC Members.

A panel composed of the Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Entourage Commission, two IOC Members of this Commission and two members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, all appointed by the IOC President, took the final decision on the two coaches to receive this award.


The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.4 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.


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