The origins and history of the San Marino National Olympic Committee
In the 1950s, San Marino sporting activities experienced a dynamic increase and required a suitable institutional framework in terms of autonomy, representation and organizational skills. These reasons induced sports leaders to foster the growth of an independent sporting body to represent and assist local athletes in official competitions, following the provisions of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The leaders of the major associations came together and agreed to propose the creation of the San Marino Olympic Committee (COS). On 3 April 1959, the Captains Regent, Marino Benedetto BELLUZZI and Agostino BIORDI, approved the incorporation of the CONS by their own decree and appointed Federico BIGI President (a position held from 1959 to 1969 and from 1973 to 1978). Since then, the Committee has been led by Giuseppe Micheloni (1969-1973), Libero Barulli (1978-1981), Domenico Bruschi (1981-1988), Giovanni Vito MARCUCCI (1989-1996), Angelo VICINI (1997-2012) and Gian Primo GIARDI (2013).
The first steps of the San Marino National Olympic Committee
The Olympics of Melbourne in 1956 had just finished and Italy was already committed to organizing the 17th edition of the Olympic Games of the modern era to be held in Rome in 1960.
The San Marino sporting movement was inevitably attracted by all this action. The possibility to take part in such a meeting was too tempting to lose. But between hopes and reality were a lot of duties to comply with. First, we had to create a National Olympic Committee and it had to be recognized by the IOC. It was 1958 and San Marino sport was still under the ruling of numerous laws and regulations of the Department for Tourism, Sport and Entertainment.
The legislation was suitable for those times as for national activities but it was not sufficient for a Country which aimed to take part to the Olympic Games. Officially incorporated, operating, autonomous and independent, the San Marino Olympic Committee was created free from political connections and in compliance with the provisions of the Olympic Charter drawn up by the IOC. At that point, it was necessary to make the machine of diplomacy work and activate the San Marino authorities to remove any obstacle which could prevent our participation to the Games. The Secretary of State of that period, Federico Bigi, established high-level contacts abroad to support the San Marino Olympic Committee in order to ensure its rapid approval by international organizations. A feeling of active cooperation was shared by the members of a Special Commission appointed by the State Congress on 2/1/1959 and presided over by the Captains Regent and the Minister of Tourism, Sport and Entertainment, whose aim was that of proposing the incorporation of the San Marino Olympic Committee. Such Commission was formed by Marino Benedetto Belluzzi, Gian Luigi Berti and Alvaro Casali.
In a race against time all the necessary formalities were dealt with and the result was the promulgation of a Decree by the Captains Regent on 3/4/59 by which the San Marino Olympic Committee was officially incorporated. The members of the Committee, each one with a specific role, were: Federico Bigi, President, Vittorio Rossini, Secretary General, Pietro Reffi, Minister of Tourism, Sport and Entertainment, Alvaro Casali, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Tourism, Sport and Entertainment, Domenico Forcellini, Ferruccio Piva, and Gian Luigi Berti.
This goal had been reached thanks also to the essential support of the CONI and its legendary president, Giulio Onesti, who, along with his staff, made any effort to ensure San Marino’s wishes came true.
Since then, the San Marino NOC has taken part to all the editions of the Summer Olympic Games, except in Tokyo in 1964, and to all the editions of the Winter Games, except in Lake Placid in 1980 and in Nagano in 1998. The San Marino athletes have always participated with enthusiasm and dignity but the best result ever was Francesco Nanni ranking 5th in Los Angeles in the rifle prone with a score of 594 out of 600. Shooting has always given San Marino the greatest satisfaction: in 2000 in Sydney, Emanuela Felici ranked 7th in trap, a result confirmed 4 years later in Athens. At the 2004 Olympics, her teammate Francesco Amici ranked 7th in trap men.
In the last 30 years, the Committee has undergone deep modifications. It had to adapt to the revolutionary development of sport, which has rapidly stopped being an elite phenomenon to become a massive, and consequently social, attraction. A particularly important year in this process was 1981 when a highly articulated sporting legislation was promulgated to eliminate some lacks and regulate the whole sector. The principles of hierarchical, administrative and financial independence of the San Marino NOC was reaffirmed and made operational and the Committee was invited, through its members and federations, to appoint its directors and manage itself according to actually independent criteria.
In his quality of head of the Commission, Domenico Bruschi was appointed president, up to March 1989, for two whole Olympic turns and then granted the Olympic Order by the IOC. This choice proved to be good and effective. Bruschi has done a good work to obtain new facilities in a good state, promote the role of the Commission and make available his open-mindedness towards new international initiatives and experiences. The Games of the Small States of Europe have been especially his idea and they have become important owing to his efforts. He has been responsible also for the participation of San Marino to the Mediterranean Games. But these goals have been only steps along the path that, since 1959, has led to the gradual development and modification in its composition of the whole sporting scenario in San Marino.
A clear example of such change is the great number of sporting associations which gather 9,000 people as officers, athletes and enthusiasts. Another example is the rise in number of sporting facilities, which, although still insufficient, have produced an increase in the number of practicing athletes. And finally, the great amount and high standards of national and international events regularly organized by San Marino sporting clubs.
During the years San Marino has taken part in seven editions of the Mediterranean Games gaining several medals.
2009 was a particularly lucky year. The close city of Pescara hosted the 16th edition of the Mediterranean Games where San Marino participated with a delegation of 30 athletes gaining incredibly 6 medals and, for the first time in its history, also a gold medal obtained by Daniela Del Din in trap.
But 2009 will be remembered also for other reasons. In the year of the 50th anniversary of the San Marino Olympic Committee, his president Angelo Vicini was appointed Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the Games of the Small States in June and in September he was granted the Olympic Order, the highest award of the International Olympic Committee.
The coat of arms of the San Marino Olympic Committee
The symbol of the Olympic Committee in its present configuration was designed and realized by graphic designer Stefano RIGHI at the end of the 70s and it was officially introduced for the first time at the Olympics on Moscow in 1980. The flag under the traditional Olympic circles with the identifying colors of the five continents (from left to right: blue for Europe, yellow for Asia, black for Africa, green for Oceania and red for America) has the traditional colors of San Marino: white and light blue. Once there was also the word CONS, which has been eliminated to link the symbolism of the upper part of international value with the lower part where stands the official coat of arms of the Republic of San Marino updated according to the present local legislation which regulates the use of the crowned logo of the Republic.
At present, the logos and graphics of the San Marino National Olympic Committee are designed by CONS’ Press Office in collaboration with Davide Monaldi of GDG and SportAgency.sm.
The international acknowledgements of the San Marino Olympic Committee
The San Marino Olympic Committee (CONS) was recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1959. It is a member of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and of the European Olympic Committees (EOC). Within the latter, San Marino organized and hosted the 13th General Assembly held in November 1982.
In 1987, San Marino was admitted to participate in the Mediterranean Games as a guest country. In June 1993, during the General Assembly in Agde (France), it obtained the acknowledgement of member state from the International Committee of the Mediterranean Games (C.I.J.M.).