The International Sports Press Association (AIPS) honored outstanding veteran journalists in a special media breakfast on Monday morning during the 17th Pan American Games in Toronto. A total of 13 journalists who have covered six Pan American Games or more were recognized for their dedication and contribution to the Pan American family in the offices of renowned PR agency Edelman.
Diego Hipólito Méndez Calero and Roberto Pacheco Martinez, both journalists from Cuba’s Radio Rebelde, were specially honored during the event for having covered a remarkable 11 and 10 Pan American Games respectively, thus contributing to the Pan American family for more than 40 years.
This very special event brought together all sides of the sporting stratosphere, with the five-time Olympian and Canadian Olympic medalist Charmain Crooks leading the ceremony, while journalists from across the Americas where honored for their contribution to sports by Toronto mayor John Tory, Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) president Marcel Abut and veteran IOC member from Barbados Austin Sealy, who himself has participated in 12 Pan American Games.
A message of outright optimism for sports journalism was given by the mayor of Toronto, John Tory, a former journalist himself, who was presented with a special AIPS Global Award. “The language of sports is universal, and if there is a group of journalists who has a bright future, it’s sports journalists. People around the world want to read about sports, want to see sports, hear stories about sports of all kinds in all places – and sports is everywhere. So, be optimistic!”
“For every great athlete there is a great journalist recording his success,” highlighted COC President Marcel Abut. “It is an honor to be here among so many journalists, who inform and inspire and who make sports and competitions like the Pan American Games what they are, by bringing the passion to the fans worldwide. Because of your effort, the Americas learn about emerging talent. Because of your effort, they get to know about our athletes and coaches. Our athletes are important but their journey would remain unknown if it was not for the dedicated work of journalists, videographers, photograhpers and storytellers like you,” Abut added in an inspired tribute to gathered journalists.
AIPS President Gianni Merlo said: “I think it is very important to celebrate the professionality of journalism, because our profession is not dead like some say. It is however going through a difficult period of transition , from which it will emerge even stronger in order to protect our independence and transparency.”
The full list of journalists, who have been telling the Pan American story since as early as Mexico City 1975, and who were honored during the ceremony is below:
Diego Hipólito Méndez Calero – CUBA, Radio Rebelde – 11 Games
Roberto Pacheco Martinez – CUBA, Radio Rebelde – 10 Games
Pablo Socorro – CUBA, AFP – 8 Games
Ricardo Luis Perez – ARGENTINA – 7 Games
José Anaya Fuentes – CUBA, INDER – 7 Games
Claudio Federovsky – ARGENTINA, Radio del Plata – 6 Games
Gonzalo Mansilla – ARGENTINA – 6 Games
Walter Challapa-Escalante – BOLIVIA, photographer – 6 Games
Joao Pedro Nunes – BRAZIL – 6 Games
Luis Alberto Izquierdo Valdés – CUBA, Radio Rebelde – 6 Games
Raul de Jesús Rodriguez Fernández – CUBA, Radio Habana Cuba – 6 Games
Rodolfo Gárcia Lozano – CUBA, Televisión Cubana – 6 Games
Enrique Montesinos – CUBA, Grama – 6 Games
Víctor Manuel Martínez Escobar – GUATEMALA, Vistazo Deportivo – 6 Games