For immediate release
Lucerne, 12 July 2014

Denis Oswald, President of the World Rowing Federation, FISA, since 1989, will step down tonight. He hands over the presidency of the World Rowing Federation to Jean-Christophe Rolland at the regatta dinner tonight in Lucerne, Switzerland. Rolland is an Olympic Champion rower from France.

An Olympic rower, Oswald competed in three Olympic Games, winning bronze at the Games in Mexico in 1968. He was also a Swiss National Champion 13 times, Henley Royal Regatta winner and coached several Swiss crews to international competition.

A Doctor of Law, Oswald lectured at various universities and has been the Director of the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) since 2000. At the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Oswald served as Arbitrator since 1984 and then as Mediator since 1994.

First serving sport nationally, Oswald was a member of the Swiss Olympic Committee’s first Athletes Commission. Oswald then became  a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1991 and later chaired both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games IOC Coordination Commissions and served on the Eligibility, Juridical and Medical Commissions.  Oswald was also elected President of ASOIF (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations), in 2000 and served for 12 years when the term limitation clause kicked in.

In 1978 he was elected Secretary General of FISA and stayed in this position for the next 11 years before being elected President of FISA in 1989. During his presidency, the number of national federations affiliated to FISA rose from 67 to 142, lightweight rowing was added to the Olympic Games Programme and Para-rowing became part of the Paralympic Games programme.

Accolades have poured in from throughout the sporting world testifying to Oswald's influence, popularity and the respect he has in the wider sporting community.

 “I will be forever grateful to you for having successfully carried through the coordination of Athens and London,” said former IOC President Jacques Rogge.

“Will, honesty, authority – when thinking of you, these are the three words that immediately come to my mind,” said Françoise Zweifel, former IOC Secretary General.

“Athlete, thinker, manager, President – the skills are multiple, the energy is unique,” said Christophe Dubi, IOC Sports Director. “Investing himself always, endlessly, to impact decisions, influence the future, make a difference.”

“Your honesty, integrity and the way you have always shown respect for others has touched and inspired us all; and your unselfish commitment to do every job well, whatever you have been asked to do, is now legendary,” said FISA Executive Director Matt Smith.

“You always stayed true to the mission of FISA, making certain that the athletes could be assured of a safe and fair event,” said former FISA and IOC Vice-President Anita L. De Frantz. “Thank you for serving the Olympic Movement and helping the Games serve the athletes better. And thank you for making us proud to be rowers!”

“I was immediately struck by the manner in which you led FISA with a passionate belief in the true values of sport such as teamwork, playing by the rules and never losing sight of the fact that FISA is a big, happy family with one unifying interest – ROWING,” said International Paralympic Committee President Phillip Craven.