This year's International Award for Valour in sport has been won by French hang gliding expert, Jean-marc Boivin.
LV AND CU: Anti Soviet demonstrators assemble with placards outside the Guildhall, London, (3 shots)
TV AND CU: Valour In Sport Award nominees surrounding Darryl Stingley, USA footballer, in his wheelchair. (2 shots)
SV: Group of seven Soviet nominees
TV PAN FROM: Darryl Stingley taking his place TO all guests assembled for presentation lunch
CU: Ultimate winner of the premier award hang-glider pilot Jean-Marc Boivin seated at table
TV: Guests applaud as Darryl Stingley leaves the stage after receiving special award.
TV PAN: Boivin mounts stage and is greeted by last year's winner Naomi Uemura who presents him with the award.
TV AND SV: Audience applause as woman places trophy on his head and kisses him.
LS AND CU Boivin hang-gliding in French Alps.
Previous winners include Niki Lauda and Graham Hill (motor-racing) athletes Kathy Miller and Titus Mamabolo, swimmer Jack Robertson, and cyclist Eddy Merckx.
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Background: This year's International Award for Valour in sport has been won by French hang gliding expert, Jean-marc Boivin. Boivin was partially blinded when he launched himself from the second highest mountain in the world, to set a new record for altitude flight by hang glider. He was chosen from 22 finalists, most of whom attended the presentation ceremony at London's Guildhall on Tuesday (5 February). The judges also made a special award to American football star, Darryl Stingley, who broke his back in a tackle in 1978.
SYNOPSIS: The Soviet Union is amongst the one hundred and twenty-one countries participating in the award. Demonstrators outside the Guildhall protested against the presence of the Russian troops in Afghanistan, in the year when Moscow hosts the Olympic Games.
The award is given for a single act of Valour, or sustained courage in a sportsman's career.
Amongst the year's nominees, a team of Russian skiers, who became the first ever to ski to the North Pole, and Darryl Stingley, the former American football star, crippled in an accident, but still working as a talent scout for this old club. His comeback to further serve football earned a special award from the judges.
It was Jean-Marc Boivin's descent of K2, which ultimately secured the judges' vote, The alpine guide from Dijon jumped from a record 26-thousand feet (7,600 metres) after a four month climb in the Himalayan peaks. The ascent, in poor weather and along a previously unconquered face of the mountain, left the Frenchman exhausted and his vision permanently damaged. boivin received the award from last year's winner, Naomi Uemura of Japan, In 1978 Uemura became the first man to reach the North Pole alone across the frozen Arctic Sea. The golden laurel wreath, worth one hundred thousand pounds, (230,000 U.S. DOLLARS), must be returned. But Boivin keeps a five thousand pound (12,000 U.S. Dollars) replica.
Boivin had joined the expedition to the summit of K2 as a guide. He insisted on carrying the 44-pound (20 kilos) hang glider himself, because he did not want his project to burden the rest of the party. He had wanted to carry a parachute, but abandoned the idea because of weight. For the first seven seconds he plunged through the thin air at 80 miles an hour (130 kilometres an hour). Boivin was still flying fast (25 mph) when he touched down 13 minutes later. Twenty-nine years old Boivin now plans a double assault on the Matterhorn. In May he intends to ski down its 60 degree east face then climb the north face, and hang glide to the base, all within 24 hours.