Lausanne: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach presented former United Nations (UN) secretary-general Kofi Annan with the Olympic Order in Gold.
Annan had been awarded the Olympic Order in 2007, but due to his busy schedule he was unable to attend an award ceremony until Thursday when he paid an official visit to the IOC headquarters here, Xinhua reported.
"The Olympic spirit is something that has been with me for a long time," Annan said during the presentation.
"Sport is a great education. Some of the things I learnt that took me through life, through the secretary-generalship, I picked up in the sports field, where you learn to play in a team, where you learn to respect rules, where you learn not only to play in a team but to allow for individual brilliance."
Bach thanked the 77-year-old Ghanaian for his "many years of service to sport and for championing the unifying power of sport through the Kofi Annan Foundation," which seeks to mobilise political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights.
Annan was the seventh UN secretary-general and served from 1997 to 2006 and attended many editions of the Olympic Games.
He was a staunch supporter of sport-related initiatives and projects, among others the proclamation of the International Year of Sport and Education in 2005 and the appointment of the first Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace.