The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized Argentina’s Laura Martinel and Korea’s Taesuk Chang as the winners of the Trainer Career Award awarded every year by the organization chaired by Thomas Bach.
Martinel, an Olympian in Barcelona 1992, is the coach of the Argentine judo team while Chang, who was also at the Olympic Games in 1992 and also participated in Atlanta 1996, is the coach of the Republic of Korea women’s sword team.
“The role played by coaches in an athlete’s career is sometimes invisible, but always invaluable. The large number of medals won by their athletes are testimony to the work of Laura Martinel and Taesuk Chang. More than that, both coaches are outstanding ambassadors for Olympism and Olympic values, and both are worthy winners of this award,” said Bach.
Martinel was a Pan-American champion at the age of 18 in 1982 and competed in the elite until 1995. After retiring, she became a coach and trained, among other Argentine judokas, Daniel Krukower (world champion in 2003) and Paula Pareto (bronze medal in Beijing 2008, world champion in 2015 and Olympic champion in Rio 2016).
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to receive this prestigious award and I want to express my gratitude to those who have been crucial in my coaching career, starting with the athletes who have placed their trust in me. I also extend my thanks to the IOC for providing a special place for coaches, the International Judo Federation for nominating me among many renowned colleagues, my National Olympic Committee, my National Federation and, of course, my beloved country, Argentina,” said Martinel.
“The principles and values transmitted by my parents, then strengthened through my experience in judo and my dedication to Olympism, form the basis of my life. I am a passionate defender of the values of sport and, ultimately, my greatest desire is to leave a significant legacy for future generations,” added the Argentine coach.
Chang began training the South Korean women’s sword team in 2016 and at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (it was held in 2021 due to the pandemic) the Asian national team won the silver medal after losing the final to Estonia.
“I want to express my sincerest gratitude for this honorable recognition from the IOC,” said Chang, who was unable to attend the ceremony and the award was received by Ms. HeeKyung Kwang, Director of International Relations of the Korea Olympic and Sports Committee. “I would like to express my deep gratitude to Kang Young-mi, Choi In-jung, Song Se-ra and Lee Hye-in, the members of the South Korean women’s sword team. It has been a joy and a privilege to share countless memories and moments of triumph with these remarkable athletes.”
“Taking on the role of coach brought its own set of challenges. Through frequent communication with athletes, we identify individual areas of weakness and work on specific training regimens to address and supplement those specific deficiencies. As a result of these efforts, we achieved remarkable success in consecutive competitions, including the Asian Games, the World Championships and the Olympic Games,” said Chang.
All the winners of the Coaching Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2017: Kaneko Masako (Japan, artistic swimming) and Jon Urbanchek (United States, swimming)
- 2018: Katalin Rozsnyói (Hungary, boating) and Andreas Schmid (Austria, skeleton)
- 2019: Ulla Koch (Germany, artistic gymnastics) and Malcolm Arnold (Great Britain, track and field)
- 2022: Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi (France/Australia, boating) and Malcolm Brown (Great Britain, triathlon)
- In 2020 and 2021, the distinction was not awarded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.