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01

Presentation

didier

I have attracted plenty of superlatives, both the best and the worst. But how is it possible to be so surprising and ready with innovative ideas on the one hand, and so manipulative on the other? The truth is that like any self-respecting human being, what I have experienced in life has made me who I am and has made me, I hope, a better man – a man who has learnt from the past by recognising his mistakes and a man who has had what it takes to bounce back and enjoy success at times, but also a man who is able to look you square in the eyes and assure you that he has no problem looking steadfastly to the future.

With a fighter’s approach that rarely leaves people indifferent, I modestly believe that I can say nobody would be able to question the real sincerity of my passion for all skating sports and skaters and my capacity for hard work. My federation’s recent sporting, economic and political achievements have encouraged me, and I am thus inclined to believe that I could, with the right people working as a team around me, serve as leader.

I have devoted a great deal of my life to this consuming fervour and I can honestly say that I do not regret it at all. The son of an international rugby player and a piano-playing mother, I discovered late and by chance the magic of ice skating.

I dedicated the best part of myself to enabling the French Federation, which my predecessors left mired in 10 million euros of debt, to recover, and I reshaped it into a nationally credible federation that has earned the respect of the Ministry of Sports and the Olympic Committee, where I am a member of the Administrative Council, I forged very strong ties with the presidents of five of the international winter sports federations – the FIBT (bobsleigh and skeleton), the WCF (curling), the FIL (luge) and, for a long time, the IIHF (ice hockey) as well as the ISU, of course, and all its members.

I have a reputation as an ideas man with some interpersonal skills and, most notably, the ability to see things through when I start them. I can safely say that my role in planning the creation of the Grand Prix both for senior skaters and subsequently for junior skaters, as well as the idea of the Challenger Series and the ‘Top Jump’ competition, was not insignificant. During the same period, I created the first high-altitude national centre for speed skating in Font-Romeu (Pyrenees) and, in a country where short track had become all but non-existent, three years ago we started collecting a number of medals, including in long track events.

Time has had its effect on me, and experience has taught me that any human activity has value only if it is shared evenly and fairly. These lessons changed me, and while I am as impatient as ever when I see decisions that have been taken being delayed when they are ready to be implemented, I am nevertheless uncompromising when it comes to how rigorously preparations are made and how much time is devoted to ensuring that they are of the best possible quality. As a sportsman, I see this role solely in terms of concrete results and I want to succeed – the rest is meaningless…

I am still an openly and entirely self-confessed ambitious man who enjoys power, but only in the sense of being able to get things done, and, where possible – humans can always make mistakes – being able to do beautiful things. The most important thing for each of us now is surely that we use our past experiences, positive or otherwise, to one end and one end only – that of enabling us to come together to look serenely to the future, basing what we do on a firm plan.

Being elected to the position of president of the ISU is a responsibility. It is a mandate, a contract that ties the president to the people who elected him or her; more than anything, this means being duty-bound to follow the manifesto that the team of the president whom you elect will have presented in order to raise the ISU to a higher level. That is the only thing at stake in this election and anything else is ultimately of little importance. I want to create unity solely on the basis of concrete plans, not on promises of positions or roles.

To achieve this, I am ready to commit my unrelenting drive, my deepest convictions and experiences and all my time to support this venerable and engaging organisation.

Lastly, in the interests of transparency and given the very short (two-year) term involved, I unreservedly commit to a plan that would bring us to 2022 together and with this in mind, I am not simultaneously seeking any other elected position, as I am passionate about and motivated by only one – being your president.

02

Biography

National and International career as a figure skater

  • Didier Gailhaguet reached the winners’ podium of the French Championships on five occasions, winning the title in 1974 and 1975.
  • He won a silver medal at what later became the ISU World Junior Championships in Vienna, Austria, in 1968.
    • He was selected to take part in the European Figure-Skating Championships and World Figure-Skating Championships on five occasions. He represented France at the 1972 Olympic Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, before severely injuring his knee during a rugby match prior to the 1976 Winter Games.

Coaching career

  • Didier Gailhaguet went on to develop a figure-skating Centre at Champigny-sur-Marne and created the first winter sports department at INSEP [France’s National Institute of Sport and Physical Education], which trained French figure skaters including Surya Bonaly, five-time European champion and three-time world silver medallist, Éric Millot, Stanick Jeannette, both European medal winners, and many more.
  • In December 1992, he became director of France’s figure-skating, ice-dancing, and short track and speed skating national teams, and was closely involved in Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat’s sport preparation during several years leading to their 1998 bronze medal and up their 2002 Olympic title.

President of the FFSG

  • Didier Gailhaguet was elected President of the Fédération Française des Sports de Glace composed of 12 differents sports such as Hockey, Bobsleigh and Curling, a position he held until 2004.
  • In response to athletes’ demands, he returned to the organisation in December 2008 and was elected President of the FFSG in the first round of voting
  • On 26th June 2010, he was again re-elected President of the FFSG, securing 92% of first-round votes. He secured the FFSG by reimbursing a total of 10 million Euros debt left by the former FFSG’s team.
  • An active President, his leadership was accompanied by numerous major figure-skating title wins, with Florent Amodio becoming European champion and, in ice dancing, Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat twice becoming European champions and world bronze medalists. He played an active role in helping Brian Joubert, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron to receive four European titles and two world titles (2007,2015). He also developed speed skating, both short track – in which Thibaut Fauconnet became France’s first European champion – and the men’s and ladies relays, with the French team winning the ISU World Junior Short Track Championships and bronze in World cups, as well as long track, with emerging star Alexis Contin winning European and, twice World medals (mass start 2015 and 2016).

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National and International positions

  • Didier Gailhaguet organised the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Nice in 2000 and the World Ice-Hockey Championships in Grenoble, as well as the ISU 2012 World Figure Skating Championships in Nice again, which were hugely successful in terms of the standard of participants, spectator support, media coverage and financial returns
  • Since May 2009 he has been a member of the Administrative Council of the NOC [French National Olympic and Sports Committee] (re-elected in 2013)
  • Since May 2013 he has been a member of the Commission Nationale pour le Développement du Sport [France’s National Commission for Sports Development]
  • Former member (from May 2009) of the Commission Nationale du Sport de Haut Niveau [France’s National Commission for High-Level Sport]
  • Member of the ISU Council, 1998 to 2002
  • Chairman of the ISU Grand Prix Management Commission from 1996 to 2002 and member since 2009
  • Chairman of the ISU Grand Prix Management Commission for Skating from 1996 to 2002 and member since 2008.
  • President of EPSA, the European Coaches Federation, 1984/1990