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The International Olympic Committee on Thursday November 9 recognised two outstanding coaches for their lifetime achievements.

Acknowledging the exceptional role of coaches in an athlete’s life, the IOC’s first-ever Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to retired Japanese synchronised swimming coach Kaneko Masako and retired American swimming coach Jon Urbanchek.

Kaneko Masako (JAP) has set a leading example both as a swimmer and a coach since the beginning of synchronised swimming in her country. As a coach, she has achieved outstanding success developing swimmers from beginner to Olympic-standard. Masako is the only person to have coached medal-winning swimmers at every Olympic Games from 1984 to 2004 and to have medal winners in all but one FINA World Championships from 1978 to 2007.

Jon Urbanchek (USA) has developed swimmers into Olympic medallists, world champions and world record holders throughout his coaching career. He has taken over 40 swimmers to represent their country at six editions of the Olympic Games from Barcelona 1992 to London 2012, bringing home over 20 Olympic medals, including 11 golds. Highly respected by his athletes, Urbanchek has also contributed significantly to their personal development beyond the swimming arena.

IOC Athletes' Entourage Commission Chair Sergey Bubka said: "The role of a coach for an athlete goes beyond the field. It is about a journey and long-term collaboration. It is a great pleasure to honour the first two winners of the IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards for their outstanding contributions to Olympians’ live and the Olympic Movement."

This Award, given to one female and one male retired coach, is an initiative of the IOC Athletes' Entourage Commission to raise awareness about the athletes’ entourage and recognise the important role coaches play in supporting athletes on the road to their sporting dreams.