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U.N. chief Ban to receive Olympic Order from IOC
SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) -- Ban Ki-moon, the South Korean-born U.N. secretary-general, will receive the highest medal given by the International Olympic Committee for his contribution to the Olympic Movement, IOC officials said Thursday.

   The IOC said in a statement that Ban will be awarded the Olympic Order in gold. The decision was reached at the conclusion of the IOC's final executive board meeting of 2012, it said.

  
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (AP=Yonhap file photo)


The Olympic Order, which was established in 1975, is awarded for distinguished contribution to the Olympic Movement.

   The Olympic Charter states that the goal of the Olympic Movement is to "contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport."

   According to the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC), previous South Korean winners of the Olympic Order include Lee Kun-hee, a member of the IOC and chairman of Samsung Electronics; Park Seh-jik, the late head of the 1988 Seoul Olympics organizing committee; and former Presidents Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung.

   Ban was among the torch bearers for the 2012 London Olympics this summer, and during the opening ceremony he entered the main stadium with eight others as a bearer of the Olympic flag.

   On Ban's watch as the U.N. chief, the IOC in 2009 became the first sports organization to be granted the U.N. Observer status, allowing it to participate in sessions of the U.N. General Assembly.

   jeeho@yna.co.kr
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