Photo: RWH

Berchtesgaden (RWH) After exactly 26 years, four months and another 26 days Josef Fendt has resigned from his post as President of the International Luge Federation, FIL. As impressive as the bare figures may be, much more impressive are the facts which the now 73-year-old Bavarian created during his term of office thanks to his calm, earthy and humane manner.

The fact that luge is still part of the programme of Olympic Winter Games, and that since 2014 even a new discipline (Team Relay) has been added, is one of his most lasting merits. Fendt also modernised the federation's structures, made visible by the acquisition of a new FIL office in the heart of Berchtesgaden including an attached museum.

Fendt's retirement from office was quiet because the FIL Congress could only be held virtually on November 20 due to the pandemic. Thus, the crowd of well-wishers, who otherwise would have liked to come to Berchtesgaden, could only express their thanks virtually.

Fendt's successor has already been determined with FIL Secretary General Einars Fogelis from Latvia as the only candidate. He is the third President in the history of the FIL. The Austrian Bert Isartisch founded the FIL as an independent federation in 1957 and served as President until his death on February 8, 1994. This was followed by Sepp Fendt, two-time World Champion (1970 and 1974) as well as silver medallist of the 1976 Olympic Winter Games as an active member and then Vice-President Sport of the FIL. He initially took over the management of the world federation on a provisional basis. On June 25, 1994, he was then officially elected at the FIL Congress in Rome. 26 years, four months and another 26 days later, the era came to an end.

"Sepp Fendt was always a loyal, experienced and competent partner for us, not only with regard to our sliding sports, but also on an international level. As FIL President, he was one of seven members of the Association of Olympic Winter Sports Federations, AIOWF, where he also acted as auditor in recent years. We will miss his calm manner, with which he has nevertheless emphatically and above all successfully represented sliding sports and winter sports. But he would not be Sepp Fendt if he had not already built up his successor in his calm manner in the last few years. We thank Sepp for his constant support and his long-standing friendship, which we will continue to cultivate beyond his presidency," said Ivo Ferriani, President of the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF), AIOWF President and Executive Committee member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

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