Beijing Olympic gold medallists Jonas WARRER and Martin Kirketerp IBSEN scooped the "B.T.s GOLD" award and Jesper BANK became a member of Danish Sports "Hall of Fame" in a great night for sailing at Denmark's annual Sportsgalla evening.
The annual Sportsgalla evening in the HMC Messecenter Herning was a great success for Danish sailors and sailing. The whole two and a half hour show with 10 different Sports Awards and popular bands was attended by 5,000 guests and transmitted live by Danish Television DR1 on Saturday Evening.
The Danish 49er Olympic gold medallists from Beijing, Jonas WARRER
and Martin Kirketerp IBSEN
, were nominated in two categories: "Sportsname of the Year" and "B.T.s Gold" for the best sports achievement in 2008.
WARRER and IBSEN arrived on the stage dressed appropriately - with a complete golden evening suit sponsored by Bestseller - their white sailing shoes the only break in colour. The B.T.s GOLD award was handed over to the pair to a standing ovation, while millions of TV viewers had a chance to relive the action from the incredible 49er races at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao.
WARRER and IBSEN's Olympic success came following a remarkable finish to the 49er event. Before the start of the 49er Medal Race, held in extremely stormy conditions, the Danes snapped their mast and their medal chances looked to have vanished. However they managed to return to the boat park and after a quick phone call the Croatian team of Pavle KOSTOV
and Petar CUPAC
, who had not qualified for the Medal Race, agreed to lend the Danes their boat. WARRER and KIRKETERP IBSEN returned to the race course in the borrowed Croatian boat, just making the starting limit by a matter of seconds and then navigating their way around the course to eventually finish the Medal Race in seventh place, good enough to secure them the Olympic gold medal (read the full story of the race here
During the awards ceremony, the organizers paid tribute to this remarkable sporting moment when a sail was hoisted at a 49er in the middle of the Exhibition Hall - this was the famous Croatian Olympic 49er sail - and up the "cat walk" appeared the two Croatian sailors, KOSTOV and CUPAC, to congratulate their Danish sailing friends. They received a fantastic welcome from the crowd and no doubt made millions of new Danish friends amongst the TV viewers.
In November, the Croatian pair and their coach Ivan BULAJA were recognized for their act of sportsmanship when they were awarded the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin International Trophy for Fair Play by the International Committee for Fair Play, named after the former IOC President and founder of the Modern Olympic Games (read the full story here
The nominees for the "B.T.s Gold" award were: "The Golden 49er"; the Danish men's Handball team, who won the European Championship; and the successful young tennis player Caroline WOSNIACKI. The winner of the award is chosen by a committee consisting of 40 of the top athletes of the year, and therefore is much appreciated by the athletes themselves. B.T.s Gold is the oldest and most prestigious Sports Awards in Denmark and was founded in 1930. B.T. is one of Denmark's largest daily newspapers.
, a four-time Olympic gold medallist and one of six inaugural inductees into the ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame
, has received this award three times in 1948, 1956 and 1967. He is the only Danish Sportsman to have received the award three times.
Jesper BANK Honoured
was also honoured at the Sportsgalla ceremony and this all together became a fantastic evening for Danish sailors and sailing. BANK became a member of the Danish Sports "Hall of Fame" which now consists of 24 of the most famous Danish sports men and women, including of course ELVSTRÖM.
BANK is one of the most successful Danish sailors and indeed, Danish sportsmen, ever. He won Olympic gold medals in the Soling in Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000, and Olympic bronze medal in the Soling in Busan 1988. In addition, BANK has won seven World Championship titles, including the ISAF Match Racing World Championship
title in 1999 , four European Championship titles and numerous other championship medals and victories in international events since he first appeared on the world sailing stage by qualifying for the Olympic Sailing Competition at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Today BANK is one of four owners of the world famous Elvström Sails Ltd. In Aabenraa, Denmark, where he the coming years will concentrate his efforts in developing the sail loft as commercial director.