Jan Dijkema, left, has been presented with the Olympic Order ©IOC

Former International Skating Union (ISU) President Jan Dijkema has been awarded the Olympic Order during a ceremony in Lausanne.

The Dutchman was honoured at Olympic House by IOC President Thomas Bach following his leadership of the International Federation from 2016 to 2022.

"When you took over the ISU Presidency you knew that you had big skates to fill," said Bach.

"But just like the athletes, you rose to the challenge.

"The strong foundation and Olympic success that you inherited at the ISU did not make you complacent.

"On the contrary.

"Under your leadership you kept modernising the ISU and developing your sport.

"You put skating on a path for the future with a steady hand, with vision and determination.

"You made the great sport of skating fit for the future.

"And this is something that you can be very proud of, especially in this challenging landscape.

Jan Dijkema was awarded the honour for his service as ISU President from 2016 to 2022 ©Getty Images
Jan Dijkema was awarded the honour for his service as ISU President from 2016 to 2022 ©Getty Images

"It is my special privilege today, to honour your dedication to sport and the values it stands for."

The Olympic Order is the highest award of the IOC and is given for distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement. 

Bach commended the 78-year-old for guiding the ISU and skating community through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The honour was established in 1975 and comes in the form of a chain with the five rings of the Olympic Movement flanked by olive wreaths.

Dijkema's work in increasing the global appeal of skating through new formats and disciplines, as well as developing more talented athletes in other countries through the ISU Centres of Innovation was also praised.

Dijkema was elected ISU President in 2016 to succeed the retiring Italian Ottavio Cinquanta before his term was extended by four years in June 2018.

He started his career as a politician and became the youngest member of the Dutch Government in 1978 at the age of 32.

In 1994, he then exchanged politics for sports administration to take the role of vice-president at the Royal Dutch Skating Association.