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AIPS launch Olympic history platform and Champions of the Century poll during online Centennial celebration

Today, the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) is 100 years old and more than 300 sports journalists gathered over Zoom to celebrate this momentous milestone, while ushering in a new century.

Since its birth in a boxing ring in Paris, just before the opening of the VIII Summer Olympics in 1924, AIPS has stood the test of time as a custodian of the sports journalism profession and its enduring ethical principles.

It was a double celebration as July 2 is also World Sports Journalists Day.

The online Centennial event was live streamed via the AIPS YouTube Channel from one of the studios of 128-year-old La Gazzetta dello Sport, one of the oldest and most widely read newspapers in Italy, established in 1896.


The event opened with a five-minute video that honoured the rich history of AIPS in a remarkable way, thanks to the collaboration with the Puccini Festival Foundation that has allowed the use of ‘Nessun Dorma,’ of Puccini’s Turandot, probably one of the most popular arias of all times, as the theme song of the AIPS Centennial. In fact, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the great maestro’s death.

AIPS Secretary General Jura Ozmec explained that the partnership “is a bond between sport and music,” serving as a “source of peace.”

With ‘Nessun Dorma’ in the background, the video took attendees on a nostalgic journey through time, not only summarising the history of AIPS but also indicating the evolution of journalism since the ‘Roaring Twenties.’


AIPS President Gianni Merlo paid homage to the visionaries, spearheaded by Frenchman Frantz Reichel and Belgian Victor Boin, who paved the way 100 years ago.

“To celebrate 100 years is not easy. It is a very emotional day for me, especially being here (La Gazzetta dello Sport), a place where I have spent all of my career,” Mr. Merlo said.


He added: “The founders of AIPS saw the need to defend our rights and working conditions. They believed in the possibility of having associations everywhere.

“Now it’s our duty to continue defending our rights in this time when artificial intelligence, for instance, is posing a threat to our profession. They take our work without asking us, which is a crime. It is important to introduce ethical points that will prevent our work from being killed.”

Merlo also mentioned the rise of Content Creators in the field of sports media and issues with working conditions of sports journalists at events as other challenges.

“We already have Working Groups for these matters and we are also speaking with UEFA about the working conditions in stadiums during their events.”


During the ceremony, the much-anticipated AIPS Centennial Project, ‘100 Olympic Stories by 100 Young Reporters from 100 Nations in 100 Seconds’ was unveiled. It was such a moment of pride for everyone who was involved in transforming this idea of the AIPS President into reality.

Explore the platform here:

Around 130 enthusiastic young reporters took part in this unprecedented initiative, highlighting the iconic athletes and moments that have shaped the Olympic history of their respective countries.

With interesting facts and figures, this world map of Olympic stories is a cultural and educational tool for all, offering unique insights and diverse experiences while underlining the Olympic spirit. It has been launched just in time for this year’s Summer Olympics in Paris.

This project was achieved with the support of the International Olympic Committee and Getty Images.


Still speaking of young reporters, Ozmec spoke about the success of the AIPS Young Reporters Programme, which has over 13 years touched the lives of 454 young journalists from 96 countries.

The programme offers the next generation of sports journalists a unique opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills at sports events in collaboration with top international sports federations and AIPS partners.

Ozmec revealed that there are plans for a Young Reporters Programme at the Saudi Games in Riyadh later this year and another one in Chengdu, China during the World Games.


Another AIPS initiative that has continued to inspire sports journalists around the world is the AIPS Sport Media Awards. Since 2018, the Awards have been recognising the very best sport storytellers across all media platforms. Its impact has been lauded across the globe.

The 7th edition of the Awards was launched on June 1, 2024. Submit your work via

The 2023 edition received 1887 submissions from 140 countries, a record in terms of participation.

“These Awards showcase high-level sports journalism around the world and this is one way for us to defend our profession in this difficult moment,” said Merlo.


Following today’s online celebration, another AIPS Centennial Celebration is set to take place at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on August 6, during which journalists who have covered 10 or more Olympic Games will be honoured.

“This event is to remind us that we were born in Paris. There will be ambassadors of our founding nations and top athletes who will award the Olympic journalists,” Merlo explained.

“We are proud of our partnership with UNESCO. They also believe in sport as a tool to help the young grow better.”


Another highlight of the occasion was the launch of the poll for the AIPS Best Male and Female Champions of the Century 1924-2024, in honour of the athletes who, through their jaw-dropping, record-breaking performances, transformed the world of sports and have continued to inspire generations in the last 100 years.

Voting starts today July 2 and will last until 11:59pm (CEST) on July 26, the day of the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony.

Visit and click on the banner at the top of the homepage to select your top three in each category from a list of more than 200 nominated sporting icons.

The winners will be announced during the AIPS Centennial celebration scheduled to take place at the UNESCO Headquarters on August 6, 2024, in Paris, France.


The AIPS Centennial Celebrations officially kicked off with the AIPS Executive Committee Meeting in Chengdu, China in March, followed by the AIPS Centennial Congress and AIPS Sport Media Awards ceremony, which took place from April 28 to May 2 in Santa Susanna, Spain with more than 300 guests from over 100 countries present.

Like the AIPS President Gianni Merlo often says, the boxing ring is a symbol of the constant fight to defend the rights of sports journalists all around the world. And the importance of being together in the face of current and future challenges cannot be overstated.

“We want that everybody can live in peace and this is why we are sending a message of hope to everybody through the platform we launched today. We will continue to help our colleagues in Ukraine, Palestine and other countries that there is war.”

Credit: AIPS 

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