Olympic medal to be taken to Mount Everest

Olympic medal to be taken to Mount Everest

At the first Winter Olympics, held in Chamonix in 1924, The International Olympic Committee announced that no individual or collective effort had in the last four years equalled that which Gen Bruce and his comrades had achieved in the (1922) Mount Everest Expedition, and would be happy to acclaim in him the most magnificent example of energy which the Committee could set before him. Thus, Gen Bruce was invited to receive medals on behalf of the 1922 Expedition members. But he – and the other men embarking on the 1924 attempt – had already left for India, so Lt. Col E.L. Strutt represented the Mount Everest Committee and collected thirteen medals, one for each British member of the party, at the Closing Ceremony, 5 February 1924. Later, medals were also awarded to some of the native porters, who had contributed so much to the Expedition

M. le Baron Pierre Coubertin, the President of The International Olympic Committee, in an eloquent speech, referred in most flattering terms to the hardships undergone by the party, and expressed his sincere hopes for the success of Gen. Bruce and the Expedition of 1924. The Baron also referred to the fact that this was the first occasion on which the Olympic prize had ever been awarded for a mountaineering feat, and expressed the hope that it would be possible for one of the medals to be deposited on the summit.

Nearly ninety years on, this wish is about to be realised. Not only is it an immense tribute to the men of that 1922 attempt, but also appropriate that it will take place in the year of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and be a fitting celebration for the Diamond Jubilee of H.M. the Queen, remembering that the announcement of the first successful climb of the mountain was made on the day of her Coronation in June,1953.

The medal has been kindly loaned by Charles Wakefield, the grandson of Arthur Wakefield, the Expedition doctor in 1922.

For Kenton Cool, it will be yet another great climbing feat, and a huge achievement.

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