During the visit of Thomas Bach - President of the International Olympic Committee to Israel on the occasion of the commemoration of the 11 Munich Martyrs on the 50th anniversary of the Munich Massacre, the President took the opportunity to present the outgoing Chairman of the Olympic Committee, Yigal Karmi, with the highest Olympic honor.
Carmi was the head of the Olympic Committee in Israel from 2013 to 2021, during which time he had the privilege of leading Israel to two Olympic Games - Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. Carmi led Israeli sports during the difficult period of dealing with the Corona epidemic, and was personally involved in the struggle of the widows of the 11th Anki Spitzer and Ilana Romano, for the moment of silence at the opening ceremony at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, when he accompanied them to personal meetings with Thomas Bach in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The awarding of the decoration was done in a special ceremony made according to the rules of the Olympic protocol, during which Bach gave a particularly moving speech in which he reviewed his personal acquaintance with Karmi during the 9 years in which Karmi served as chairman in Israel.
The signal received by the Israeli, photo: Olympic Committee
Among other things, Bach said: "It's not every day you come across a person who, upon first meeting, you know you can trust, that he is from Heyman - for me, Yigal, you were like that from the first moment. I always admired your inner peace, the one that allowed you to stand for the principles and values of Olympic sports and spread in Israel. Under your leadership, the Israeli athletes made the best achievements ever in the Olympic arena - 90 sportsmen and women, in 15 sports and 4 Olympic medals, of which 2 gold in the gymnastics branch."
"Thanks in no small part to your involvement and optimistic attitude, we commemorated the 11 victims of Munich first in Rio 2016 in the Olympic Village, and then you observed the moment of silence at the opening ceremony in Tokyo 2020. For all of these I am proud to present you with the Olympic decoration."
An emotional Karmi thanked Bach, praised him for his leadership over the years and emphasized: "I was happy to serve Olympic sports in general and sports in Israel in particular. Over the years, I found in Thomas Bach a true friend whose leadership never failed to deal with complex problems. I had the great privilege of accompanying the families in their struggle and to be in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo during the minute's silence in memory of the victims of Munich, which I will never forget.'
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