Erick Barrondo, Olympic Medalist Race Walker, wins The Peace and Sport Image of the Year Award
More than 15,000 fans voted online to pay tribute to the inspiring message of peace shared by the Guatemalan athlete at the 2012 Olympic Games
Monaco – October 17, 2012 – Pernilla Wiberg, Alpine ski Olympic Champion and “Champion for Peace” has yesterday unveiled the 2012 Peace and Sport’s Image of the year Award to Guatemalan Olympian Erick Barrondo during the Georges Bertellotti’s Golden Podiums at the 2012 SportelMonaco.
Erick Barrondo won the Silver medal in the Men’s 20km Race Walk at the London Games, becoming the first ever Olympic Medalist from Guatemala. The picture of the 21 years old athlete has conquered the hearts of sports fans worldwide: 69 % of the 15,359 voters chose his victory photo as the most iconic demonstration that sport can foster Peace in the world and encourage unity between divided communities.
He dedicated his historic race to his young countrymen back home just after he crossed the finish line on August 4, 2012. Mr. Barrondo said, “It’s well known that Guatemala has problems with guns and knives. I hope that this medal inspires the kids at home to put down guns and knives and pick up a pair of trainers instead. If they do that, I will be the happiest guy in the world.”.
Champion for Peace Pernilla Wiberg declared, “The picture chosen as the ‘Peace and Sport’s 2012 Image of the year’ depicts Victory – a victory over pain, hate and terror. Erick Barrondo, the athlete on the picture may not have won the Gold medal. But his Silver medal will forever stay engraved in his country’s history as well in our memories because he was carrying a strong and moving Peace message. Erick Barrondo has not been the most acclaimed nor mediatized athlete in London but to my eyes, he has been one of the most iconic. As a Champion for Peace, I make the pledge he will be listened to. His medal can change the life of his fellow countrymen in Guatemala. It can contribute to make their dream for a solid and sustainable peace come true.”
Peace and Sport President Joel Bouzou added, “I remember Erick’s inspiring Peace message during the London 2012 Olympic Games. His statement, a few minutes after the finish line, shows how much he considers his race was more than sport. It is essential for our movement that athletes from all over the world and especially Olympians join us to carry the torch. Their engagement is a formidable message of hope. I am delighted his picture has moved such a great number of voters worldwide.”
The 2012 Peace and Sport’s Image of the Year Award contest was conducted through an online voting process of fans worldwide. More than 15,000 internet users participated by choosing between four different nominated photos presented on the Peace and Sport website. Erick Barrondo’s winning photo succeeds in the Award history to the image of Afghan NGO Skateistan chosen in 2011. The official Award will be presented to Mr Barrondo during the 2012 Awards Ceremony to be held on November 1stat the Peace and Sport International Forum in Sochi, Russia. 2012 is the 5th year the Image of the Year Award has been given in partnership with SportelMonaco.