Berchtesgaden (pps) 160 guests had been invited to the large hall of the „Bräustüberl“, Berchtesgaden’s old-established traditionally Bavarian inn. The party in celebration of the 60th birthday of Josef Fendt, President of the International Luge Federation (FIL) on Saturday, October 6, was a huge success and also held some surprises:
The almost complete FIL Executive Board amazed “its” President with a very special distinction. Without the knowledge of Fendt, who is usually very well informed, they had managed to pass a Congress resolution to decorate him with the highest FIL award. After a humorous speech held by Vice-President for Finance Harald Steyrer (Austria), Fendt received the FIL Medal of Honor in Gold with Diamond from the hands of Secretary General Svein Romstad (USA). Up to then, in the history of the FIL, this decoration had only been awarded to founding President Bert Isatitsch and the Honorary Members Erhard Feuereis, Richard Hartmann, Jan Steler, Lucjan Swiderski and Baron Eduard von Falz-Fein. In addition, the Executive Board members gave Fendt a golden watch.

On his great day, Fendt received a huge amount of other presents as well. The Russian luge federation represented by its President Valeri Silakow also handed over a golden watch as a gift from the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. In addition, Fendt received a Samowar, in proper style filled with “white Russian tea“. Other national federations also expressed their congratulations and several inventive presents were handed over.

A real highlight was a contribution from Werner Rabe, Head of Sports at the public television station “Bayerischer Rundfunk”. Through a video message, he forwarded birthday greetings from Thomas Bach, Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and President of the German Olympic Sports Association (DOSB). Bach, who was unable to come in person, is also a long lasting friend of Fendt. The video also contained black-and-white coverage of the athletic career of the two-time World Champion and silver medalist at the 1976 Olympic Winter Games.

Fendt Ehrung