Barcelona – Spain, Nov 25: The spectacular IAAF Centenary Gala Show which took place tonight in Barcelona’s Palau Nacional was the highlight of a momentous year of celebrations which have marked the IAAF Centenary.
The Palau Nacional, built for the 1929 International Exhibition, is the home of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) and its atmospheric Oval Hall was the setting for the IAAF Centenary Gala Show.
The night which was hosted by International Athletic Foundation (IAF) & IAAF President Lamine Diack, was coordinated on stage by Britain’s Jonathan Edwards, the World Triple Jump record holder, and Catalan catwalk model and actress Judit Masco.
The one and half hour show took place on a giant stage backed by a video wall, in front of an audience of around 800 guests, which included IAF Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, IOC members, members of the World Athletics Family and representatives of other International Federations as well as dignitaries from Spanish sport and politics. Joining them were around 200 champions from the London Olympic Games 2012 (and 1948!) as well as many other legends of the sport, who were treated to an array of music and dance performances and inspirational videos commemorating 100 years of the IAAF.
The rhythms of Barcelona were captured from the opening by the dance group Buleria, and the audience continued to mesmerised by inspirational performances from violinist Ara Malikian and guitarist Fernando Egozcue, The Flying Dancers and Ilana Yahav, whose unique sand art was created live on stage to the strains of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony Ode to Joy.
The Eclectic Colour Orchestra and a 100 voice choir recalled the past 100 years with an emotive rendition of the IAAF hymn, which was composed by Vangelis. A parade of the flags of the 17 Founding Members of the IAAF brought a flurry of colour to the stage.
The IAAF Hall of Fame was officially inaugurated with the induction of the 24 first members. President Diack presented trophies to the 13 legends attending this weekend – Iolanda Balas, Sergey Bubka, Sebastian Coe, Betty Cuthbert, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Alberto Juantorena, Wang Junxia, Kipchoge Keino, Stefka Kostadinova, Edwin Moses, Dan O’Brien, Peter Snell, and Irena Szewinska. For the full list of IAAF Hall of Fame Members inducted tonight.
The soprano Montserrat Marti, a dance troupe choreographed by Malou Airaudi, and IL DIVO, the multinational operatic pop vocal group, brought the evening’s entertainment to a climax.
To toast the occasion of the IAAF Centenary, World Athletes of the Year Usain Bolt and Allyson Felix joined President Diack, with the six of the most outstanding athletes from this summer’s IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona: Angelica Bengtsson, Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon, Ana Peleteiro, Anthonique Strachan, Adam Gemili, and Keshorn Walcott – coming on stage to symbolize a bright future for athletics as the next 100 years of the IAAF gets underway. —- IAAF
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