The Swiss skier, Pirmin Zurbriggen, is one of nine sports stars to have been awarded the Olympic Order by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Zurbriggen was given his prize by the IOC's outgoing president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, at a ceremony at the newly refitted Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
An IOC official said that Samaranch, who is due to step down as head of the international body in July, wanted to be able to honour the nine athletes before he finished his term as President.
Among the other prize winners were Ethiopia's Hailé Gebreselassie, Olympic 10,000m gold medallist, four time champion of the world and holder of 15 world records and the Australian track athlete, Cathy Freeman.
The Olympic Order is the highest distinction awarded by the IOC and is given to sportsmen and women who have illustrated the Olympic ideal by either a remarkable achievement in their field or through an outstanding contribution to the development of their sport and the Olympic cause.
Nominations are proposed by the Olympic Orders Council and decided upon by the Executive Board.
swissinfo with agencies
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