International Federation concludes a year of celebration with breath taking event
On Saturday, 30th November, Paris’s Grand Palais was the stunning backdrop for the FIE’s showcase Gala Dinner to celebrate one hundred years of the federation’s existence.
Each of the founding federations, including Great Britain, was extended the opportunity to invite up to twenty guests. Every other affiliated member federation was also invited to bring a smaller number of guests. Along with all of those invited by the FIE, over one thousand people began the evening listening to a special performance by the Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra during a champagne reception.
Guests were then led into the main area of the Palais where dinner awaited at elegantly appointed tables. Opening speeches from Valerie Fourneyron (French Minister for Youth Affairs, Sport and Associative Life), Alisher Usmanov (President of the FIE) and Thomas Bach (President of the International Olympic Committee and former Olympic fencer) followed the starters. It was also fitting that the former President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, was given a special introduction at this stage of the evening. After the main course, guests were shown a spectacular light and projection show including a three dimensional duel between two men which ended in dramatic style. A performance that mixed the purest form of ballet with cabaret depicting the feminine aspects of the sport followed.
As dessert was served entries to the recent FIE Fashion competition were presented. Entrants were set the task of designing a new outfit for fencers of the future. The entries ranged from outfits with a military theme to those with a futuristic theme that light up. PBT won the competition.
After the enormous birthday cake was paraded between the tables the musical finale began with a set from world-class jazz trumpet player, Chris Botti. To round the evening off, Sting was introduced who played a mix of songs from his days with The Police and some of his solo material. It was a very special way to end a very special evening.
Many congratulations to Maxim Paramanov (Special Advisor to the President of the FIE), Nathalie Rodriguez (CEO of the FIE), the team involved in staging the event and, of course, everyone at the FIE.
Sign up to receive regular highlights from the exciting world of fencing - celebrating the best of our unique and inspiring community