International Order of Merit
The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame presents THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF MERIT award to an individual who has been determined by his or her peers to have made a most significant contribution to the development, the maintaining of harmony, the advancement of participation and appreciation for the sport of gymnastics in their homeland, their region and the world of sport. Such contribution must be obvious within their homeland and region and must be known to those involved in gymnastics in their region. To nominate an individual for this award, any national or regional gymnastics federation / association may submit such nomination with the associated materials to include achievements, background, positions held and names of individuals from their region of the world that share this desire to recognize and honor this nominee.
Please submit nominations to: The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame C/O Paul Ziert, Selection Committee, International Order of Merit, 3214 Bart Conner Drive, Norman, OK 73072 USA .
2015 International Order of Merit Award:
Philippe Silacci (Switzerland)
Though he preferred a more behind the scenes role with the International Gymnastics Federation, Philippe Silacci was the driving force of efficiency and excellence in media operations at major international gymnastics events for 22 years. Silica’s leadership as the FIG’s Chief Media Operations Officer was especially instrumental during a period of unprecedented growth of media interest in the sport.
Born November 29, 1949 in Switzerland, Silacci went straight to work after finishing his education. From 1970 to 1988, he worked in the public relations department for the Longines watch company’s sports timing division. The position introduced him to the Olympic Games, which he attended from 1972 to 1984 as a Longines representative. In 1988, he joined the communications department of Swiss Timing Limited, which involved press activities at the Seoul Olympics that year, as well as the ’92 Winter Games in Albertville, France. Later in 1992, after an invitation from Secretary General Norbert Bueche, Silacci transitioned to the FIG, and has represented the federation at every Olympics since.
2013 International Order of Merit Award:
Hidenori Futagi (Japan)
Mr. Hidenori Futagi has served as President of the prestigious Japan Gymnastics Association since 2001. A brilliant leader, and one of the most widely recognized figures on the economic landscape of Japan, Mr. Futagi is a passionate advocate for promoting the inherent artistry of the sport of gymnastics. Under his leadership, Japanese gymnastics has flourished in every discipline on the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) program: Artistic, Rhythmic, Trampoline, Aerobic and Gymnastics for All.
Mr. Futagi is the former president of Aeon Corporation, the largest retailing company in Japan, and the 17th largest in the world. Through a large, personal, philanthropic gift, Mr. Futagi became a co-founder of the Aeon Environmental Foundation. As the director of the foundation, he has helped build more than 326 schools throughout the world, in countries such as Cambodia, Nepal and Laos, and has provided educational opportunities for over 200,000 students. Together with its customers, Aeon Foundation raised and donated more than $50 million (US) to the relief and rebuilding efforts after the devastating earthquakes and tsunami in eastern Japan in 2011.
Mr. Futagi's work in gymnastics began in 1993, as he served as the president of the Japan Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation. Between 2001 and 2006, he also served as president of the Asian Gymnastics Union. Since 2009, he has been a member of the FIG Gymnastics Foundation, and in 2012, became the first recipient of the prestigious Order of the FIG award.
2011 International Order of Merit Award:
Michel Leglise (France)
With an extensive background in sports medicine, Dr. Michel Leglise continues to make vast and significant contributions through his various roles in gymnastics. Serving the International Gymnastics Federation since 1982, Dr. Leglise is currently president of the FIG's medical and anti-doping commissions, and is a member of the FIG scientific commission. He is also First Vice President of the FIG, and a member of its executive committee.
Holding degrees in biology, sports medicine, occupational medicine and ergonomics, Dr. Leglise has written numerous articles on growth, biology and the athlete's spine. For the International Olympic Committee, he is coordinator for the medical commission's sport, child and adolescents working group, as well as serving on the cultural commission for the Youth Olympic Games.
2010 International Order of Merit Award:
Eileen Langsley (Great Britain)
From 1984-2001, Ms. Langsley was the official photographer for the International Gymnastics Federation, which published two coffee table books (1996, 2000) of her beautiful work. A native of Sheffield, England, Langsley was the sport's most influential photographer whose images filled the pages of numerous gymnastics publications worldwide. Her photos also were featured on 93 covers of International Gymnast magazine.
2009 International Order of Merit Award:
Margaret Sikkens Ahlquist (Sweden)
Ms. Ahlquist is recognized for her generous and inspired leadership in bringing gymnastics to a wider audience the world over. She is a member of the International Olympic Committee's Sports for All Commission, as well as the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG). She serves at President of the Gymnastics for All Committee.
2008 International Order of Merit Award:
Prof. Ludwig Schweizer (Germany)
perhaps no one has been more influential in our sport's development. He is recognized for his dedication and research in standization and safety testing with regard to gymnastic equipment that has advanced performances over the past 25 years. He was a former gymnast who studied sport sciences for eight years at the University of Freiburg. In 1983, he joined the FIG and began the task of establishing standards for gymnastics equipment. He is now on the faculty at the University of Freiburg, Germany.
2007 International Order of Merit Award:
Vicelia Florenzano (Brazil)
Ms. Florenzano was recognized for her contributions to the growth of gymnastics in her home country of Brazil, and throughout her region of the world. During her years of service to the sport, she has held many prestigious positions, including:
• President, Pan American Union
• President, Brazilian Gymnastics Federation
• Member, Executive Committee, FIG
2006 International Order of Merit Award:
Ulrich Spieth (Germany)
Ulrich “Uli” Spieth has been a revered and respected figure on the international gymnastics scene for more than 30 years. As managing director of the Spieth equipment company, and a long-time advisor to the FIG and countless national gymnastics federations, Uli has contributed both technical and visionary guidance to the sport of gymnastics, through equipment innovations, safety improvements, technical standards and manufacturing excellence.
2005 International Order of Merit Award:
Daniel Baumat (Switzerland)
Daniel Baumat, as president of Swiss Timing, has contributed innumerable technical advancements to the process of collecting, tabulating and displaying the scores for Olympic, World and European gymnastics competitions. Indeed, Mr. Baumat’s staff and Swiss Timing equipment have played a pivotal role in some of our sport’s most historic moments – such as in Montreal, during the 1976 Olympics, when Swiss Timing displays flashed the first perfect 10.0 scores in Olympic history, earned by Hall of Fame legend Nadia Comaneci.
2004 International Order of Merit Award:
Dr. Zakaria Ahmad (Malaysia)
Dr. “Zak” Ahmad has played an extraordinary role in growing the sport of gymnastics, at all levels, throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim. His countless contributions throughout his career have included his tenure as:
• President, Malaysian Gymnastics Federation
• President, Asian Gymnastics Confederation
2003 International Order of Merit Award:
Norbert Bueche (Switzerland)
Perhaps the noblest statesman the International Gymnastics Federation has ever known, Norbert Bueche served as the Secretary General of the FIG for many decades. As the inaugural recipient of the IGHOF’s International Order of Merit, Mr. Bueche and his tireless and distinguished service to the growth and integrity of the sport of gymnastics epitomizes the spirit and meaning of this prestigious award.