The memory of an Olympic appearance can fade with time but now athletes can have their achievements permanently recognised after the World Olympians Association announced a new post-nominal title.
All Olympians, whether winter or summer athletes, can now use the letters OLY after their name to mark the years of hard work, dedication and perseverance taken to reach the highest level of world sport.
Serving to recognise an Olympian’s status in society, the title will help to promote their social, charitable and community-based work, reminding them of their responsibility to embody the values of Olympism in everyday life.
The initiative allows Olympians to use the post-nominal letters on official documents, CVs, social media or anywhere else they may use their name – just as those with a doctoral degree may use PhD.
“By participating at an Olympic Games, Olympians have achieved something unique and for that, they must be recognised,” said Joël Bouzou, WOA president and a modern pentathlon medallist from the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.
“They are truly leaders and role models in society and ambassadors of the Olympic Movement.
“That is why the OLY initiative is so important. Much like a doctor, a lawyer or a university professor, becoming an Olympian takes many years of hard work and requires a diverse range of skills.
“I believe this initiative will provide Olympians with the professional recognition they deserve.”
More than 4,000 Olympians worldwide signed up for the initiative within 18 days of its launch, with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach the first to officially receive the letters.
Bach represented Germany at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, winning a team gold medal in foil fencing, and has served as IOC president since 2013.
All Olympians who apply to use the OLY lettering will receive a certificate honouring their achievements, as well as a free @olympian.org email address.