More than 15,000 fans voted online to pay tribute to the inspiring message of peace shared by the Guatemalan athlete at the 2012 Olympic Games
Monaco – 17 October, 2012 – Pernilla Wiberg, Alpine ski Olympic Champion and “Champion for Peace” yesterday unveiled the 2012 Peace and Sport Image of the year Award winner as Guatemalan Olympian Erick Barrondo at SportelMonaco, the leading venue for sport media.
Erick Barrondo won the Silver medal in the Men’s 20km Race Walk at the London Games, becoming the first ever Olympic Medallist from Guatemala. The picture of the 21-year-old athlete conquered the hearts of sports fans worldwide: 69 % of voters chose his victory photo as an emblematic demonstration that sport can foster peace in the world and encourage unity between divided communities.
He dedicated his historic achievement to his young countrymen back home just after he crossed the finish line on 4 August, 2012. Erick said, "It's well known that Guatemala has problems with guns and knives. I hope that this medal inspires the kids at home to put down their weapons and pick up a pair of trainers instead. If they do that, I will be the happiest guy in the world.”
Speaking during the Georges Bertellotti Golden Podiums Ceremony, Pernilla Wiberg declared, “The picture chosen as the Peace and Sport 2012 Image of the year depicts Victory. Victory over suffering, hatred and terror. Erick Barrondo, the athlete in the photo, may not have won the Gold medal. But his Silver medal will forever stay engraved in his country’s history as well in our memories because he was carrying a strong and moving message of peace. Erick Barrondo was not the most acclaimed athlete in London nor the one who attracted the most media attention, but in my eyes, he was one of the most outstanding. As a Champion for Peace, I make a pledge that he will be widely heard. His medal can change the lives of his fellow countrymen in Guatemala. It can help to make their dream for deep-rooted and sustainable peace come true.”
Peace and Sport President and Founder Joel Bouzou added, “I remember Erick’s inspiring message of peace during the London 2012 Olympic Games. His statement, a few minutes after he crossed the finish line, shows how deeply he believes that his race was much more than sport. It is essential for our movement that athletes from all over the world, and especially Olympians, join us to carry the torch. Their commitment is an inspiring message of hope. I am delighted this photograph has moved such a great number of voters worldwide.”
The winner of the 2012 Peace and Sport Image of the Year Award was decided by a worldwide online voting process. More than 15,000 Internet users voted for one of four different nominated photos on Peace and Sport’s website. Erick Barrondo’s triumphant photo succeeds last year’s winning image, taken by the Afghanistan-based NGO Skateistan in 2011. The official Award will be presented to Mr Barrondo during the 2012 Awards Ceremony to be held on 1st November at the Peace and Sport International Forum in Sochi, Russia.
This is the 5th year that the Image of the Year Award has been given in partnership with SportelMonaco
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