Göran Petersson (SWE) has been awarded the 2013 ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy which honours an individual for their outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing.
ISAF President Carlo Croce (left) with ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy recipient Goran Petersson (right)
First presented in 1988 in memory of Beppe Croce, the ISAF President from 1969 to 1986, Petersson was honoured during the 2013 ISAF Annual Conference in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.
Presenting the trophy, ISAF President Carlo Croce said, 'This is a very special moment for me personally. To be able to present this prestigious award with a trophy named after my Father is a great honour for me.
'I am also very pleased that I am able to present it to a person whom I respect and whose name, without any doubt or hesitation, will be added to the long list of distinguished Beppe Croce recipients.
'When we discussed this year's Award it didn't take the Executive any time to say your name and the choice was unanimous. In fact, immediately after your name was mentioned and before I could address the whole Executive, His Majesty had already dialled your number and was passing on the news. It just took two minutes.
'Your voluntary contribution to ISAF, sailing and sport in general has been and actually still is, quite remarkable. As you know I was a total outsider, so had to ask for help. So I have now had the chance to see the impressive path you covered.'
On receiving the award the former ISAF President said, 'Nobody who has received this particular call from His Majesty will ever forget it. But the slightly incredible condition that I've lived in since then has now been rendered credible.
'This journey would not have been possible without the co-operation and valuable contribution of many persons through the years for which I wish to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation.
'I also want to pay tribute for the never failing support from my family, especially my wife Gudrun, without which I could not have been a passenger on the ISAF train.
The ISAF Executive with ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy recipient Goran Petersson and wife Gudrun
'A famous author once said 'the only way to survive temptation was to yield to it' so here and now I happily and gratefully yield to the temptation to believe that I am indeed the recipient of the finest award any volunteer can receive, the Beppe Croce Trophy.'
Born on 2 July 1942, Petersson has been involved in sailing all of his life, devoting time to on water efforts through to administering the sport at various levels in his native Sweden, at ISAF and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
As a 505 sailor Petersson tasted success in the boat early in his career and in 1965 the tactful sailor utilised his skills to claim the Swedish National Championship title.
With an eye for the Racing Rules of Sailing Petersson often used his advanced knowledge and interest to full effect and the transition to administration was inevitable.
He became involved with the Swedish Sailing Federation in 1977, taking up the position of Swedish Racing Rules Committee Chairman, a position he held through to 1985. In 1978 the then International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU) welcomed the future President as Vice-Chairman of the Racing Rules Committee.
His eye for detail was meticulous and in 1990 he became Chairman of the Racing Rules Committee before moving on to the Vice-President spot in 1994, a position he held through to 2004.
Petersson was elected ISAF President in 2004 and for two terms held the most prestigious role in sailing as leader of the World Governing Body through to 2012.
ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy recipient Goran Petersson with his wife Gudrun
At the July 2005 IOC Session in Singapore Petersson was challenged as the IOC put all existing 28 sports in the Summer Olympic programme forward to be voted back onto the Olympic programme. This triggered a close look at how sailing was performing at the Olympic Games and after a review Petersson pushed forward and successfully maintained sailings position as an Olympic sport.
Petersson strengthened sailings tie in the Olympic Capital – Lausanne, Switzerland. He was appointed by the then IOC President Jacques Rogge to the IOC Evaluation Commission for the 2016 Olympic Games. This led to a successful election to the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) Council in 2009 closely followed by an IOC Member appointment.
To this day Petersson continues an active involvement in the IOC Juridical Commission and is a member of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS).
Overlooking the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games as ISAF President, Petersson was on hand to witness two marvellous spectacles as he took the sport forward.
As one of the finest International Jurors and a well-respected Umpire, Petersson has been in high demand for his expert professionalism in sailing. Petersson was installed as a key member of the International Jury at the Moscow 1980 Olympic Sailing Competition and was further called upon for Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul1988.
The Swede went on the Chair the International Jury at Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 as his role within the Olympic Sailing Competition progressed.
Petersson was Chairman of the International Jury at the Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 Olympic Sailing Competitions and took on the role of Technical Delegate at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 before Presidential duties at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Away from ISAF and the Olympic Games Petersson continued his involvement at all levels of the sport, from national events, world championships and the America's Cup.
Petersson was Jury Chairman for three consecutive and memorable America's Cup. He was there when Stars and Stripes took the America's Cup back to American waters from Fremantle, Australia in 1987, was tested in 1988 and saw an Italian team challenge for the first time in 1992.
Throughout his involvement in ISAF, Petersson has been 100% committed to the cause, balancing daily life as a lawyer and a family man. With those times behind him Petersson now enjoys sailing with his wife Gudrun and grandchildren in his Dragon.
The Federazione Italiana Vela presented the trophy to ISAF in memory of Beppe Croce, ISAF President from 1969-1986. Awarded to an individual who has made a voluntary outstanding contribution to the sport of sailing, the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy roll of honour is an impressive one. Including multiple Olympic medallists, rules gurus and designers, all have dedicated an outstanding amount of time to the sport of sailing:
1988 His Majesty King Olav V of Norway
1989 F. Gregg Bemis (USA) / Gerald Sambrooke-Sturgess OBE (GBR)
1990 Paul Elvström (DEN)
1991 His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain
1992 Olin Stephens II (USA)
1993 Paul J. Phelan (CAN)
1994 Jonathan Janson (GBR)
1995 Otto Schlenzka (GER)
1996 Henry H. Anderson, JR (USA)
1997 Carlo Rolandi (ITA)
1998 Peter Tallberg (FIN)
1999 Mary Pera (GBR)
2000 Livius Sherwood (CAN)
2001 Peter Siemsen (BRA)
2002 Jan Linge (NOR)
2003 John Tinker (CAN)
2005 Paul Henderson (CAN)
2006 Ken Ryan (IRL)
2007 Jacques Rogge (BEL)
2008 Nucci Novi Ceppellini (ITA)
2009 Bill Bentsen (USA)
2010 His Majesty King Constantine
2011 James 'Ding' Schoonmaker (USA)
2013 Göran Petersson (SWE)
For more on the previous recipients, click here