Bertarelli Made Chevalier De La Légion D’Honneur
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION ERNESTO BERTARELLI IS MADE A "CHEVALIER DE LA LÉGION D’HONNEUR"
GENEVA, 31 MARCH 2003 – Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic, today awarded the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur to Ernesto Bertarelli, the head of the Alinghi Team, for the results obtained by the Swiss team in the 31st America's Cup.
On the 2nd of March this year in New Zealand, the Alinghi Team won the key race that carried off the famous silver trophy. For the first time in its 152-year history, the oldest sporting trophy in the world came to Europe, thanks to the Swiss team. The award ceremony took place in the Elysée Palace on Monday, 31st March 2003, in the presence of the French members of the Alinghi team and the friends and family of Ernesto Bertarelli.
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ERNESTO BERTARELLI – HEAD OF THE ALINGHI TEAM:
"I am very honoured to receive this distinction from the hands of the highest representative of the French state. With the Alinghi Team we not only achieved a great performance, we also realised a dream. Not just ours, but that of millions of Europeans who wanted this trophy to come to their continent. The team now being set up to organise the next America's Cup is working hard to find the ideal site - one that will ensure above all that the event will run smoothly as a sporting event. But we also want the chosen site, in the tradition of sharing what is dear to us with the public, to offer easy access to this marvellous event - the America's Cup."
BACKGROUND THE LÉGION D’HONNEUR
Created by decree by Napoleon Bonaparte on the 19 May 1802, the highest national honour today rewards both French persons and foreigners for "outstanding merit".
Access to this Order for French citizens cannot be at a higher level than "chevalier". However, for foreigners not resident in France, who are not restricted by the hierarchy of grades and dignities of the Order, they are awarded for their personality or services rendered.
The Alinghi Team for the America's Cup 2003 flies the Swiss flag and carries the colours of the Société Nautique de Genève. The Team is sponsored by UBS and Infonet, as well as Audemars Piguet and Riri.