Feature photo: Thomas Bach in his fencing days (picture-alliance/dpa via dw.com)
The Canada Olympic Excellence Day celebrations on July 9 will feature many champions, but perhaps none more prominent than Thomas Bach.
The president of the International Olympic Committee will return to the city where he stood atop the fencing podium in Montreal 1976 as part of the triumphant West Germany team foil gold medallists.
Bach, with Matthias Behr, Harald Hein, Klaus Reichert and Erik Sens-Gorius edged out Italy and France for the team title. The future IOC president then won the team World Championship gold in Buenos Aires a year later.
That Argentine city would prove special again for Bach 36 years later when in 2013 the German was voted to lead the IOC on an eight-year term, following a highly-praised vice presidential reign that started at the turn of the century.
A winning fencer, Bach is also a champion of reform, unafraid to challenge established norms. He recently launched Olympic Agenda 2020 that aims to reshape and evolve the Olympic Games to meet modern realities. Some of Bach’s goals include changes to the Olympic bidding process, reducing costs of hosting the Games while making them more sustainable, and reining in its overall size – all measures that can help make a massive international event more manageable for host cities.
The IOC president will be on hand in Montreal where a street festival will accompany a special unveiling ceremony. Bach will join the crowd to witness his golden Olympic city affix the very symbol of the Games that he guards – the rings – to the roof of 500 René-Lévesque Boulevard.