Sports photographer Kim Min-jae has been awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Medal as the first Korean to receive the honor.
The award was presented by IOC President Thomas Bach at Coex, Gangnam-gu on Wednesday.
Bach is in Seoul for the 26th General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees, which is being held from Tuesday to Friday.
“It is such a great honor to receive the Coubertin Medal for the first time as a Korean and as a sports photographer. I will do my best to promote sports through photography,” said Kim to The Korea Herald on Thursday.
“It’s always exciting to take photos of people in action. Through sports photography I want to capture the moment of that liveliness and dynamics,” Kim said.
The IOC named Kim as the recipient of the medal in May 2018 and planned to hold an award ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the International Olympic Committee headquarter is located. However, the ceremony was delayed due to the pandemic.
Kim worked as a sports photographer at the Ministry of Sports from 1983 to 1989, covering major international sporting events like the Asian Games and Olympic Games.
He has been working as an official photographer for the Association of National Olympic Committees since 1986. He was also awarded the ANOC Merit Award at the 16th ANOC General Assembly in 2008.
The Pierre de Coubertin Medal was first awarded in 1997 in celebration of the spirit of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee.
The medal is awarded to people, not necessarily athletes, who “contributed to the promotion of Olympism.”
Previous recipients included journalists, administrators, artists as well as Olympic medalists.