Acceptance Speech Video
As gymnastics will never cease to evolve in terms of athletic achievement, so too must the rules by which it is governed. Complicating matters more is that the sport cannot be measured in the competitive arena by any truly objective system. Instead, that task is left to human beings, each vulnerable to his/her own natural biases, to determine the champions of any given contest. So it takes a special individual to not only enter such a political theater, but also to reshape the sport in terms of credibility.
For nearly four decades, women's international gymnastics benefited greatly from the character and vision of Jackie Fie. From 1976-2004 she worked in various roles on the Women's Technical Committee of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). When she took over as WTC President in 1992, she worked tirelessly to implement transparency in a sport clouded by political interests. She introduced a Judges Objectivity Evaluation system, which added a level of accountability throughout the judging ranks. Through her determined diplomacy, Fie established a new, higher standard for judges worldwide, emphasizing honesty and fairness as the only path to global growth for gymnastics.
Fie was more than qualified to undertake and succeed in such a position within the FIG. A native of Chicago, Jacquelyn "Jackie" Klein was active in speed skating and track & field as a youth. She took up gymnastics at the Lincoln Turners, and success followed. In 1956 she made the U.S. team to the Melbourne Olympics.
Gymnastics remained Fie's life focus even after she retired from competition. In 1959 she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern University and started her career as a physical education teacher, gymnastics coach, judge and administrator. During the 1960s she reshaped the U.S. women's gymnastics competition program and judges training. In the 1970s she began her affiliation with the FIG, for which she was named an Honorary Vice President upon her retirement in 2004.
It is impossible to fully measure the impact Jackie Fie has had on the sport she loves. But when you consider her volume of work as an FIG official—41 FIG events, comprising 20 World Championships, 11 World Cups and 10 Olympics—it would be equally challenging to name an individual who has contributed more.
Today, Fie lives with her husband, Larry Fie, in Jefferson, Iowa, and the couple enjoys visiting their children and grandchildren.