FIL Honorary President a man of balance and togetherness
Lausanne (RWH) Josef Fendt is now an honorary member of the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF). The Honorary President of the International Luge Federation (FIL) was awarded the distinction at the IBSF Congress in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne (SUI). "Sepp Fendt has always been a loyal partner of the IBSF during his more than 20 years as FIL President when it came to the interests of the sliding sports in general. His great experience at the international level helped our federation especially in the last 12 years. It is therefore an honour for us to accept him as an honorary member of the IBSF for his services to the sport of luge," said IBSF President Ivo Ferriani in his laudation. "I feel extremely honoured to receive this award. We have always had a friendly and collegial cooperation, even though everyone was committed to his sport. Ivo, the IBSF can be proud to have you as President," said Josef Fendt.
Fendt, who voluntarily vacated his position in 2020 after 26 years at the helm of the FIL, was and is a man of balance. A good cooperation with the sister federation IBSF was an important concern for Fendt, if only to secure the Olympic existence for both world federations. Therefore, a joint strategy in the area of track construction was agreed upon and also implemented. IBSF and FIL also worked closely together in other areas.
Like his counterpart Ivo Ferriani, who acted as athlete, coach and official, Fendt is a "child of the sport of luge". As an active athlete, Fendt, who is now 74 years old, won Olympic silver in 1976 and was World champion in the men's singles in 1970 and 1974. His sporting career was seamlessly followed by a career as an official. He was sports director at the national federation, then commission chairman at the FIL and later vice-president sports of the world federation. After the unexpected death of Bert Isatitsch, Fendt was elected as the second President in the history of the FIL in 1994, first on a provisional basis and later officially.
Thanks to his commitment, the Team Relay was included as an additional discipline in the programme of the Olympic Winter Games in 2014. Fendt was instrumental in initiating the introduction of standardised crash helmets and established the free-ride system for training at all tracks in the world. In the meantime, the FIL issues 15,000 vouchers for training runs and settles these numbered vouchers with the respective track operator.
In 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the outgoing FIL President the Olympic Order, which was officially presented to Fendt corona-related one year later by Ivo Ferriani, member of the IOC Executive Board, on behalf of IOC President Thomas Bach.
Photos: RWH & IBSF/Viesturs Lacis