Canadian Les McDonald, founding president of the International Triathlon Union and Triathlon Canada, was honoured with an Olympic Order on the final day of the 122nd IOC Session held during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in ITU’s hometown of Vancouver. The Olympic Order is the highest award presented by the IOC and is given to individuals who demonstrate distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement.
McDonald, who served as President of the ITU from its inception in 1989 until 2008, is largely credited with the inclusion of triathlon in the Olympic Programme, which made its debut at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
“Receiving Olympic Order is a tremendous honour and I would like to thank all of those who gave their support,” McDonald said. “With this, and the election of ITU President Marisol Casado to the IOC, it has been a historical past few weeks for the sport.”
ITU President Casado, who was elected as an IOC member in Vancouver on February 12, was on hand at the Session to congratulate her predecessor.
“On behalf of the ITU and the entire triathlon community I would like to congratulate Les for this honour. His tireless work ethic was vital in growing the sport of triathlon and on its inclusion in the Olympic Programme,” Casado said. “We look forward to carrying this momentum through 2010 and beyond as we push for triathlon’s continued growth, particularly among youth.”