Now sportsmen need a medal to be recognised at the Olympic level.
All Olympic athletes, including those from Barbados, can now use the post nominal designation of “OLY” at the end of their names in recognition of their sporting achievements.
Two-time Bajan Olympian Freida Nicholls broke the news yesterday as a board member of the World Olympians Association (WOA) that officially launched the designation during last week’s eighth International Athletes’ Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“This initiative by the World Olympians Association is designed to provide Olympians with the professional recognition that they deserve,” reasoned WOA president Joel Bouzou.
“By participating at an Olympic Games, Olympians have achieved something unique, and for that, they must be recognised. They are true leaders and role models in society and act as ambassadors of the Olympic movement”.
A post nominal designation like PhD and MBA, the OLY recognition can be used on official documentation, CVs, business cards, letters and social media.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, a German medal-winning fencer at the 1976 Olympic Games, was the first to actually receive the designation just last week.
The WOA’s executive board members were the next ones conferred with the designation, making Nicholls one of the first Olympians to be presented with the new certificate of recognition.
“For me I am very honoured to have received this and I am also honoured for my country and the rest of the Olympians who will receive this designation because it is worthy recognition for the hard work they have all put in,” said the Bajan sprinter, who competed at the 1972 and 1976 Summer Games.
“It doesn’t matter if you medalled or if you didn’t, once you competed at the Olympics, then everyone is recognised on the same level as someone who put in the work to be seen as the best their country had at the time.
“The whole rationale behind this is to recognise all those years of hard work because in most cases the process to become an Olympic athlete is longer than someone doing a PhD or an MBA as it is usually eight to ten years from the time you make a national team.
“Being an Olympian also requires a diverse range of skills and comprehensive knowledge of their respective discipline, so I am quite happy that this has finally been done to recognise elite athletes,” she added.
Bajan athletes seeking to receive their OLY designation can simply go to the WOA’s website under the section “Olympians” and fill out a very short registration process.
The WOA will then send the registration to the IOC for a background check before emailing the applicant with their certificate of recognition that they can download for personal use.
All Olympic athletes are eligible for the designation once they have not been found guilty of an anti-doping infraction or have a criminal record.
“Being an Olympian, regardless of how one placed, is a globally acknowledged accomplishment,” explained Olympic bronze medal sprinter Obadele Thompson. (JM)