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General News vom 01.08.08  
„Improving planning reliability”Switzerland’s Sepp Benz new Chairman of the Sport Commission

Calgary (pps) It was in 1989 when Sepp Benz made his first appearance at a Congress of the International Luge Federation, FIL. At that time suspiciously eyed because of his close association with the bobsleigh sport, he did not really enjoy a good reputation within the FIL. Today’s FIL President Josef Fendt, who then headed the Congress representing the founding president Bert Isatisch, tried to calm the delegates: “Don’t you worry. He won’t last the year and then we’ll be rid of him.” This is what Josef Fendt told Benz – but that was only many years later.

Sepp Benz came to the FIL in order to stay. As a tireless start-up helper for the struggling sport of luge in Switzerland, later as an unconventional chairman of the Youth Commission and since the 56th FIL Congress in Calgary at the end of July as Chairman of the Sport Commission. “I will do my very best”, the 64-year old promised following his unanimous election.

Sepp Benz thus succeeded Karl Zenker who died in the summer of 2007. The FIL Executive Board had previously appointed the retired post clerk Benz as temporary Chairman of the Sport Commission. Benz won the gold medal in the two-man bobsleigh event at the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid as brakeman with driver Erich Schaerer and captured a total of four World Championship titles in bobsleigh. Later on, Benz acted as national bobsleigh coach and served in this capacity at the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary.

With his election to Chairman of the Sport Commission in Calgary twenty years later, his career has thus come full circle. “My goal is to plan the Calendar in close coordination with the Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, FIBT, already three to four years ahead so that both organisers and tracks will enjoy more planning reliability”, Benz explained in Calgary. Additionally the retired post clerk, who will continue to head the Youth Commission, intends to set up a “to-do list” for judges and referees, to introduce a special test for members of the jury and to “further improve existing structures”. Last but not least Sepp Benz wants to foster the good relationship with all parties involved – that is athletes, officials and organisers.