The President's Note N° 12 2017

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The President's Note N° 12 2017

December 8, 2017

By Georges Guelzec, UEG President

Dear friends

As I am sending you the last Note of my mandate as President of the UEG, an imperative rule comes to my mind, an experience of life that will prove indelible, a formidable test that we all here must face one day, before fading, before disappearing from the spotlight, before leaving the scene. Like me, the elected ones that you are, like the artists will know this anxiety during the last representation, which consists of not missing the exit!

Drawing up the balance sheet is an exercise that presents no difficulty. The facts, the traces exist. As prestigious as it may be, this balance sheet, a positive imprint of a mandate can disappear at once if the person concerned misses the exit of the chessboard. Men are made that way, it's the last impression that counts!

It is therefore with humility and restraint that I give you this ultimate message, with the sole aim of highlighting the significant events that marked my two mandates and the lessons that future generations will not fail to ponder.

I'll start with the end. The UEG is doing well. But this diagnosis does not allow you to lower your guard. On the contrary, it must consolidate your vigilance, motivate your imagination to maintain and further develop our Union.

The optimism that I am showing today was not in place on the first day of my presidency on January 1, 2010. It was urgent to restore a governance worthy of the millions of gymnasts who give us their confidence on a daily basis. The mistakes at the UEG top were one of the elements that motivated my decision to run for president. To lead, to assume, to decide, but also to converse, to convince were at the center of my entire professional career, like gymnastics.

Since my first steps in a gym, at six years old, until today, this sport and those who live it, have been at the center of all my attentions. As an athlete, from the regional level to the Munich Games, and then as a leader, from member of the Men's Technical Committee to the central Presidency. If I spent all my time, my energy, gymnastics gave me the right return on investment, through the countless positive experiences and wonderful encounters I had the chance to experience.

The eight years at the head of the Union have not been a solitary journey. A president, however brilliant, cannot act alone. I had the chance to be mentored, supported, advised by exceptional men and women. At all levels of our hierarchy, elected members, representatives of the federations, the technical committees, the officials, the members of our staff in Lausanne, have always been by my side. I am grateful to all of them.

They were invaluable when it came to making strategic, structural, even existential decisions. Together we have created an UEG spirit built on listening, communication and transparency. This is what I call the good governance we enjoy today and which remains, with finance, communication and sport, one of the four pillars of the whole building. This governance is also based on the new staff rules that we have drafted together.

The finances of the Union have been at the center of my initial interventions and remain today a key element of our functioning. So is our independence, financial and political. We made a dramatic turnaround by establishing a four-year financial plan. A small revolution for the time. At the same time, we built partnerships that continue today.

In terms of communication, we made the strategic choice to create a permanent position dedicated to our external relations, especially with the media, television in mind. As such, I am proud to have renegotiated and finalised the collaboration we have with our partner Eurovision. Beyond the strictly economic aspect, this agreement gives us the visibility and the credit that gymnastics, a major discipline of the Olympic programme, is entitled to claim in Europe and in the world. This audience serves gymnastics certainly, but also its partners, the suppliers of apparatus. The creation of the Pool of Suppliers was a success and as such, I express my thanks to all the actors of this project.

And finally, sport. Gymnastics in all its diversity was and remains today the heart of the functioning of our Union. As I said above, the UEG is doing well! And she owes it to the good health of her gymnastics. Sport works like business. If the product is bad, it cannot sell. I give you this reflection with a warning tone: treat the product, not to your wishes, but for the market that expresses the demand. Our gymnastics is the one our audience expects, not the one formatted in conclave by scientists disconnected from reality. Our gymnastics is lively, young, dynamic. We prove this at each of our championships. We even did better in 2015, participating in the first European Games of the continent. Fireworks that we will reproduce in Minsk in 2019. This is important for our image, our gymnasts, our federations. Important is also our participation in the first European Championships in Glasgow next year. According to the first projections, we will obtain audience records that have never been reached before.

Yes, we are in tune with the economic, sporting and media realities, but once again, stay alert. The sports market is ruthless, cruel and victimised every day. It requires sharp skills, commitment, courage and above all a long-term vision.

The UEG since its creation in 1982 has gone through many crises and has been able to renew and reinvent itself every time. To my successor, to the new authorities, I express both my gratitude and my admiration for assuming these responsibilities and to continue what has been created by those who have preceded us.

Before closing this chapter of our history and inviting you to more earthly than statutory celebrations, I would like to address the gymnasts, all the gymnasts and tell them how proud I am of their enthusiasm, of their sacrifices and assure them of all my friendship. You are the ones we watch. You are the model for the youth and I thank you for it.

This is the moment ... I am exiting the stage release, I am taking leave of you. Also, I withdraw with emotion, with respect, conscience in peace, with the feeling of a duty accomplished.

To you Farid, I hand over the keys of the European Union of Gymnastics with the deep conviction that you will take the greatest care of all our great Family.

Goodbye!

 

Georges GUELZEC, President