On 16 April 2006, Prince Albert II of Monaco reached the North Pole after a four-day expedition across the pack ice. He has thereby become the first head of state, and the first IOC member, to achieve this. Using sledges pulled by huskies, Prince Albert II and the other seven members of his team covered almost 100 kilometres to reach the North Pole from the Russian weather station of Barneo. Immediately upon arriving, Prince Albert II planted the Monegasque flag, then the Olympic flag.
Homage to his family
With this expedition, Prince Albert II wished to pay tribute to his great-great grandfather, Prince Albert I, the father of modern oceanography, who undertook four exploratory campaigns around Spitzbergen in the early 20th century, the largest being in April 1906, exactly one hundred years ago.
Raise global awareness
Aware of the dangers which threaten the environment, Prince Albert II’s aim in undertaking this expedition was to raise world public awareness of the global issues that represent short-term risks of climatic warming and the dangers of industrial pollution, whose impact is serious in the Arctic. Upon arriving at the North Pole, Prince Albert II thus declared: “The exceptional human adventure we have just undertaken must not make us forget that our planet is in grave danger, and that we need more than ever to take action to safeguard it.”
Five Olympic appearances
Prince Albert II has been an IOC member since 1985. A high-level athlete, he competed in bobsleigh in five consecutive editions of the Olympic Winter Games: Calgary (1988), Albertville (1992), Lillehammer (1994), Nagano (1998) and Salt Lake City (2002). President of the Monegasque Olympic Committee since 1994, he is Deputy Chairman of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and a member of several other IOC commissions.