13th July, 2012
The Headquarters of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is preparing for some very special birthday celebrations next week in Monaco, the Mediterranean Principality which has been the home of the sport’s world governing body since October 1993.
On the 17 July 1912 in Stockholm, Sweden, following the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in the Swedish capital, the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) was founded by 17 nations who saw the need for a world governing authority, for a competition programme, for standardised rules and technical equipment and for a list of official World Records. The IAAF, which in 2001 changed its name to the ‘International Association of Athletics Federations,’ will turn 100 years old on 17 July 2012.
Last month headquarters staff light-heartedly took part in their first celebration of the Centenary by showing off their athletics ‘prowess’ on the track and in the infield of the Stade Maurice Chevalier in Cannes, France, but next week the celebrations along the coast in Monaco will become more formal though no less fun.
On the eve of the Centenary, Monday 16 July, representatives of the 17 founding Member Federations of the IAAF will meet for a special commemorative dinner hosted by IAAF President Lamine Diack and the four Vice-Presidents in the roof top Horizon Restaurant of the Fairmont Hotel, Monte-Carlo.
On the day of the Centenary itself, Tuesday 17 July, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, who is Honorary President of the International Athletic Foundation (IAF) and President of the Fédération Monégasque d’Athlétisme, will lead the Principality of Monaco’s celebration of the IAAF’s birthday.
The IAAF is greatly honoured to be given a private garden party at the Palace which will be hosted by their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco.
To officially seal the day’s celebrations a special Monegasque commemorative postage stamp and first day cover will be issued to formally mark 100 years of the association’s history.
IAAF Centenary celebrations will continue throughout the year. The World Athletics Gala on 24 November will be the centre piece of a weekend of celebrations in Barcelona, Spain which will be attended by dozens of legendary champions from athletics history.
An IAAF Centenary Historic Exhibition displaying an unrivalled collection of historic athletics memorabilia will also take place in the Catalan capital. Hosted by the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sports Museum, it will be open to the public for six weeks in the autumn (13 October to 25 November).
A Commemorative Book and a TV series are also being produced, and along with celebrations such as at the traditional IAAF Dinner, which takes place on the eve of the athletics competitions at the London Olympics, will further commemorate the IAAF’s special anniversary.