Freddy Serpieri, former FEI 1st Vice President (1998-2006) and former President of the Hellenic Equestrian Federation has passed away. He was 77.
A lifetime supporter of all things equestrian, Freddy Serpieri’s name is synonymous with the sport in Greece where he served with passion, vision and dedication for more than half a century as an athlete and an executive, raising the image of the sport nationally and taking it to international level.
Freddy (Fernand) Serpieri was born in Athens (GRE) on 28 April 1938. The son of Jonny Serpieri and Didi Vlastou, he came from a prominent Greek family with significant mining interests. He studied economics in Geneva (SUI) and served as CEO in a number of family companies.
As an athlete he won the Greek national Junior Jumping Championship in 1955, and the Senior Championship in 1969, as well as individual gold in the 1973 Balkan Senior Championship. He was President of the first riding club founded in Greece, the Hellenic Riding Club, serving from 1980 until 1995.
In a lengthy career as a sports executive, Freddy Serpieris served as President of the Hellenic Equestrian Federation from the its formation in 1990 until 2001. He was elected Chair of FEI Regional Group 1 in 1997, a position he held until 2005. When HRH The Infanta Doña Pilar de Borbòn (ESP) was elected as FEI President in 1998, she appointed Freddy Serpieri as her 1st Vice President and he remained in the post until 2006.
He was a member of the Greek National Olympic Committee and President of the International Olympic Academy (IOA), President and Treasurer of the Greek National Sports Confederation SEGAS, Chair of the SEGAS Riding Sport Committee from 1975 to 1984, Secretary General of the Greek Jockey Club, a member of the Organising Committee of the 1991 Mediterranean Games and President of the Hellenic Riding Club. He was also made an Honorary 1st Vice President of the FEI and Honorary President of the Hellenic Equestrian Federation.
Freddy Serpieri was very active in the Olympic Movement for many years, serving as Vice President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee from 2001. He was one of the torch bearers during the Torch Relay for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, carrying the Olympic Flame along the new Olympic Village Road in Aharnon, Athens.
It was thanks to Freddy Serpieri that the magnificent Markopoulos Riding Centre, venue for the Olympic equestrian events in 2004, was acquired.
“Freddy was a very good friend and I really appreciated his work as Chair of Group 1 and as 1st Vice President of the FEI, and specially the efforts he made for the development of the sport”, FEI President Ingmar de Vos said. “On behalf of the FEI and the equestrian community, we send our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We will always remember him fondly.”
Former FEI President HRH The Infanta Doña Pilar de Borbòn (ESP) said: “I cannot let Freddy Serpieri’s passing go by without saying how much he will be missed. He was Vice President for quite some time and I, and I hope all of us, will always be thankful for his wise advice, lovely manners, and sense of humour. For myself I have lost a very good friend. May God have him in his glory.”
Freddy Serpieri is survived by his second wife, two children and four grandchildren from his first marriage. A private funeral service was held in Athens today (26 April). At the request of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the Greek and Olympic flags were flown at half-mast in his memory at the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium, venue for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
The FEI extends its sincere condolences to Freddy Serpieri’s family, his many friends, to the Hellenic Equestrian Federation and the global equestrian community.