The World Curling Federation is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a member of its Hall of Fame, and dear friend, Jean-Paul Bidaud, from Switzerland.
World Curling Federation President, Kate Caithness said, “How saddened I was to hear of the passing of our dear friend Jean-Paul. His contribution to our sport was immense and duly recognised when in 2012 he was inducted into the World Curling Hall of Fame.
“I was delighted to spend time with him in Lausanne earlier this year during the Youth Olympic Games when he reminisced about almost 40 years of his involvement within curling. His dedication and passion for our sport knew no bounds and our thoughts and prayers are with Jean-Paul’s family and friends at this sad time. Curling has lost a very dear friend.”
In 1982, as President of the Lausanne Curling Association, Jean-Paul approached the then IOC President Juan-Antonio Samaranch and invited him to the Curling Club to introduce him to our Sport.
This introduction was to prove pivotal in the development of curling. Mr Samaranch sanctioned a mission to Jean-Paul. He was tasked with contacting the World Curling Federation’s then President, Günther Hummelt, to begin building a dialog with the International Olympic Committee with a view to entering our sport into the Winter Olympic Programme.
The foundation of the Curling Club Lausanne Olympique in 1984, with the support of the IOC and the City of Lausanne, convinced the IOC President to allow the club to use the word Olympique, which is a rare privilege. This marked a significant first step to the inclusion of our sport in the Olympic Programme.
Four years later, in 1992, the sport of curling experienced its most significant development in its history. Thanks to the drive and passion of Jean-Paul, and the many others who worked diligently behind the scenes, curling became an Olympic Sport.
Once part of the Olympic programme, Jean-Paul continued to make an outstanding contribution to the promotion of curling. He was a TV consultant during the Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan in 1998 and again in Salt Lake City, USA in 2002.
With his ideas and creativity, Jean-Paul dramatically enhanced the image and development of the sport. This was recognised in Switzerland where he was honoured by the committee members of the Curling Club Lausanne Olympique when they renamed the Lausanne Curling Rink – Rink Jean-Paul Bidaud.
His dedication to our sport was further recognised in 2012 with his induction into the World Curling Hall of Fame, as a Builder, which is the highest non-curling honour the World Curling Federation can bestow.
Jean-Paul, along with former World Curling Federation Vice-President, Patrick Hürlimann, were instrumental in the project to have a sculpture created and placed in the Olympic Park surrounding the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. The sculpture, entitled, “Pure Emotion”, was unveiled in July 2015 and was the first sculpture placed in the Olympic Park by an Olympic winter sport.