The International Fair Play Committee announces the Rio 2016 Fair Play Awards, but spends most of the time congratulating themselves

The International Fair Play Committee announced the winners of the Rio 2016 Fair Play Awards, though you'll be hard-pressed to find those winners because the press release spends over 300 words congratulating themselves by listing various officials who gave speeches about the importance of fair play, before finally getting around to naming the athletes. Y'know, the people who actually won the award.

And they didn't even name all the athletes!

The outline of the announcement went like this:

In attendance were the members of the International Olympic Committee, leaders of the National Olympic Committees and International Federations, accompanied by athletes. [So nice of the athletes to accompany the sporteaucrats.]

Mr. Philip French, IOC Director of Public Affairs & Social Development through Sport, gave a welcoming speech.

The Honorable Sunil Sabharwal, from the International Fair Play Committee, provided background for the Awards.

Dr. Jeno Kamuti, president of the International Fair Play Committee, elaborated on how important the awards are to the Olympic family.

Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, member of the International Olympic Committee, and member of the International Fair Play Committee, introduced a commemorative book in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the International Fair Play Committee. [Look at us, we're so awesome! We even created a book about ourselves!]

Nawal El Moutawakel, International Olympic Committee Vice President, attending on behalf of Dr. Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee President, talked about the importance of Fair Play.

The award jury consisted of Steve Wilson, Claudia Bokel, Dr. Jeno Kamuti, and the Honorable Sunil Sabharwal.

The individual winners were Abbey D'Agostino and Nikki Hamblin for encouraging each other at the 5000m race after they both fell.

The team winners were the Norwegian Men's Handball team for allowing the results of the European semi-final match against Germany to stand despite Germany having too many players on the field when the winning goal was scored.

The press release spent more time talking about various officials of sporting organizations than talking about the athletes who actually won the awards. This is the type of thinking that leads to a sports movie where the heroes are the bureaucrats.

Also, the group photograph of the winners is not labeled, so who knows who they are.

Comments (14)
  1. Erik F says:

    Given the performance of the officials in the IOC and its member organizations during this Olympics, I’m pretty sure that the bureaucrats didn’t qualify for any of the awards.

  2. SimonRev says:

    Isn’t letting the German’s win when having too many players on the field the opposite of playing fair? (It is arguably good sportsmanship, but hardly fair play)

    1. I assume the angle the committee is taking is that “the extra player didn’t participate in the goal, so the fair thing to do would be to ignore the violation since it had no effect on the outcome.” But I agree with Chris B. below that it would have been a better demonstration of “fair play” if Germany had called the penalty against themselves.

  3. Chris B says:

    It’s amazing how the individual and team awards are almost in direct contradiction to each other.

    In the track case, an accident occurred which took out two runners. One of them tripped, and the other went down (and tore her ACL!). Instead of being angry with each other, they encouraged each other to finish the race. Quite a display of fair play and sportsmanship, indeed!

    I didn’t see the handball event, but it sounds like Germany had too many players on the field, and perhaps the extra player was irrelevant to the final result. It would be a better example of Fair Play (and good sportsmanship) if the Germans had called themselves out for having too many players on the field, event if that player was irrelevant.

  4. David Marshall says:

    Meanwhile, the head of the Olympic Council of Ireland is in a maximum-security Rio prison following a police raid last week at his hotel on suspicion he participated in an illegal ticket sales plot.

    1. It gets better. The man named to replace him as president is *also* suspected of participating in the illegal ticket sales plot, but he skipped the country before the authorities could detain him.

  5. DWalker says:

    “Sporteaucratic”. There is too much of that in the world, I fear. Great word, though.

  6. Jim says:

    Who cares? Olympic games are generally unfair anyways. Making it a little better is beside the point!

  7. Simon says:

    This is always the problem with the Olympics. The event itself is great – but the organisation that runs it leaves much to be desired… the officials are a bunch of parasites, travelling around the world, staying in the best hotels, treated like royalty, and all of it paid for would-be host countries trying to solicit their favour.

  8. Alright, Raymond, let’s say you were in charge of writing this press release and you are out to do justice. How would you have written it?

    1. “Abbey D’Agostino, Nikki Hamblin, and the Norwegian Men’s Handball Team have been awarded the Rio 2016 Fair Play Awards by the International Fair Play Committee. Their demonstrations of the spirit of fair play blah blah blah.”

      “Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin were awarded the individual prize for (describe and identify).”

      “The Norwegian Men’s Handball team were awarded the team prize for (describe and identify).”

      (optional) “Dr. Jeno Kamuti, president of the International Fair Play Committee, said ‘(something honoring the winners)’.”

      “The Fair Play Award is awarded annually to (describe award). The International Fair Play Committee was established in (year) to (mission statement). For further information, contact (person) at (email) or visit (website).”

      This is pretty much how every award press release goes. You open by naming the winners and the award they won. You then describe the winners and why they were given the award. At most one bureaucrat makes a brief statement honoring the winners. You finish with a very brief statement of your organization and leave contact information.

      1. EMB says:

        But that way you don’t win that really nice bonus…

      2. Bravo! You clearly know your stuff, although it seems you’ve seen a fair share of sport press releases. (I haven’t.)

        1. This is the first sports award announcement I’ve read. But I’m just talking about awards in general. Award announcements are supposed to focus on the award winner, not on the organization that presents the award.

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