Unique honour for Australian winter sports administrator
3 June 2008
Olympic Winter Institute of Australia Chairman Geoffrey J Henke AO has been named a life member of the International Ski Federation (FIS), recognising a lifetime of service to Australian and international winter sports.
FIS President Gian Franco Kaspar confirmed Henke as a life member of the organisation at the biennial congress of the organisation in Cape Town South Africa.
It is the first time an Australian has been honoured.
Henke is widely recognised as the father of winter sports in Australia and has a long history of outstanding administrative and management achievements in Australian sport.
He was Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Winter Games team six times (1976- 1994), a FIS council members for 14 years, and Australia’s first FIS Executive Board member.
Henke was also a former Senior Vice President of the Australian Olympic Committee, and has been the Chairman of the OWI since its inception in 1998.
Henke was pleased to receive the nomination to life membership.
“It is an honour for a southern hemisphere representative to be recognised by the FIS,” Henke said.
“I have enjoyed my involvement over the years and appreciate the opportunity I have had to help our winter sports athletes and raise the profile of their sports both at home and abroad.”
“l’m now especially looking forward to seeing the Australian athletes in action at the next Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010".
Ski and Snowboard Australia President Dean Gosper was thrilled that Henke had received such an honour.
"Geoff has been a unique figure within Australia and a greatly respected ambassador internationally throughout the winter sport community".
"His legacies are numerous but best represented by the remarkable performances and achievements of our athletes".
"This is a well deserved and fitting recognition which will preserve Geoff’s special connection with the sport for a long time to come".