Richard W. Pound receives the Play the Game Award 2013
Richard W. Pound received the Play the Game 2013 Award on Monday night. Photo: Thomas Søndergaard/Play the Game
The award has been handed out at each Play the Game conference since 2002 and previous winners count journalists and other people who have actively gone against the established sports organisations from the outside, but this year the award went to ‘an insider’.
Pound is a former Olympic swimmer and has been a member of the IOC since 1978. He played an important part in the IOC’s clean-up process in the wake of the Salt-Lake City scandal.
In his time as WADA president, from its beginning and until 2008, he was one of main forces in the shaping of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
“He is ruthless and direct when it comes to pointing his fingers at all the critical points in the international fight against doping,” said Søren Riiskjær, vice-chairman of the board of Play the Game/Danish Institute for Sports Studies when presenting the award.
“It might not be a person you will always agree with – or like to disagree with – and it might be a person that also from time to time opted to choose his internal fights with care. But the person […] has certainly added enormous value to the world of sport during his many years as a top level international sports leader.”
Pound was also applauded for his willingness to engage with the outside world in debates about the inside of sports organisations. The award winner humbly took the stage and received the award.
“I’d like to thank you all for this which is not one that I deserve,” Pound said. “I do believe, as many have said here, that sport has become so important that we in fact do face a crisis and that we should not wait until we hit the wall before we do something about it. Because once you hit the wall, you have no idea what sort of chaos will result and how long it takes to earn back a reputation that you’ve built up for many years,” he continued.
“I, for my part, will try to encourage a more responsive participation from within the IOC because I think we should be here, not only to speak about what we think is important, but to hear what other people believe is important. The combination, I think, will make for a better, more morally-based, ethically-based sports system in the world and we do need some guiding values these days,” concluded Pound.
The Play the Game Award pays tribute to an individual or a group of persons who in their professional careers or as volunteers in sport have made an outstanding effort to strengthen the basic ethical values of sport and traditionally consists of a piece of art by the Danish artist and former professional tennis player Torben Ulrich along with an invitation for the next edition of the Play the Game conference.