Lahkus pikaaegne FIG-i president Bruno Grandi
Eesti Võimlemisliit ühineb leinas Rahvusvahelise Võimlemise Föderatsiooniga (FIG) ning mälestab täna hommikul lahkunud FIG-i pikaaegset presidenti Bruno Grandi´t, kes oli maailma võimlemise juhtfiguur tervelt 19 aastat olles FIG-i presidendi positsioonil aastatel 1997-2016. Ta oli sooja südamega mees, kellel oli tugev õiglustunne ning kellest jäävad maha mitmed uuendused, mis tõid võimlemisse juurde usaldusväärsust, populaarsust ning ühtekuuluvustunnet. Tema suurim teene FIG-i presidendina oli võimlemise edendamine oodatuimate spordialade hulka Olümpia programmis.
FIG´i ametlik järelhüüe on järgnev:
“Today, we are mourning the loss of a warm-hearted man who showed us the way with all the passion he had for the sport," said FIG President Morinari Watanabe. With unstoppable energy, he championed justice in sport and always placed the safety of athletes first. His values and his spirit will continue to inspire us for years to come.”
As a high-level athlete, professor, coach, judge and administrator, Bruno Grandi has explored nearly all facets of Gymnastics. He achieved success as a member of the Junior Italian team and then as coach of the Italian Men’s team, but it is in sports management that he has left his strongest imprint. He presided over the Italian Gymnastics Federation from 1977 to 2000 and was also Vice President of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) from 1987 to 2005. He was an IOC member from 2000 to 2004. The richness and the diversity of these different experiences gave him a clear vision of the reforms needed to be undertaken at all levels.
In a sport that rests above all on human judgement, he made himself a champion of “sports justice.” “The Professor,” who during his younger years came within 0.05 of the Italian senior national title, knows that there is nothing more terrible for an athlete than the feeling that a medal has been stolen from them. From modifying the competition format to developing a system of evaluating judges, a large part of his actions had been guided by the desire to ensure fairness toward the athletes.
This same will for justice is also at the heart of the reform of the code of points, initiated in the wake of the controversy at the Athens Olympics in 2004. The abandonment of the “perfect 10” for a scoring system that separated the difficulty in an exercise from the quality of its execution caused lively reactions, but quickly showed its advantages in giving the judges a wider scale for scoring.
With the protection and the health of the athletes in mind, he instituted a minimum age limit – 16 for women and 18 for men – to be able to participate in international competitions. This measure strove to combat the intensive training imposed on children in certain countries and to reduce the risk of injuries and their impact on the physical development of athletes. In line with this, he pleaded for the establishment of a Foundation for Solidarity that supports gymnasts who have been seriously injured or became victims of a disaster.
Bruno Grandi also fought to improve the Olympic qualification system in order to open the way for countries that do not have the same pool of high-level athletes as the traditional powerhouses of gymnastics. For him, the most valuable project was putting in place the “Academies” programme of courses to train coaches on every continent.
In the past 20 years, the sport has expanded to new regions of the world. By the end of his presidency, the number of FIG member federations had risen from around 120 to nearly 150. His last Olympic Games, Rio in 2016, reflected this diversity, with 16 different nations represented on the podiums and 18 Olympic titles shared between 11 countries.
The growing popularity of Gymnastics has led to an increase in revenue from the Olympic Games and its own competitions, enabling the FIG to continue its development policy around the world.
Bruno Grandi made his official farewell to the world of gymnastics at the FIG Congress in Tokyo in October 2016. He left his successor, Morinari Watanabe, the keys to a solid Federation, in the image of its new building in Lausanne, which he had commissioned.
In front of the building today, the flag is flying at half mast.