Remembering Samaranch: Olympic leader and friend of China

16:58, April 22, 2010      

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China will cherish the memory of former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch, who passed away on April 21, said He Zhenliang, an honorary member of the IOC.

"The international Olympic Games lost a great leader, the Chinese people lost a good friend and I lost a close colleague and elder brother," He said.

He specially mentioned the profound feelings of friendship Samaranch held toward China.

"Samaranch once actively helped me to restore China's legal seat in the IOC and asserted that China should play a bigger role in the international sports arena,” He said. “He warmly welcomed China's market reform and was proud to be known as a 'good friend to China.’"

He said emotionally, "We will always miss him. We also believe that the worldwide Olympic Games will continue to advance along the path he has laid out and make greater achievements in promoting the mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples in various countries and regions as well as world peace."

Yang Yang, an IOC member and a Winter Olympic champion, said on April 21 that she was saddened by the death of Samaranch, who was her role model and idol.

Yang recalled her meeting with Samaranch in 2002. She visited Lausanne as part of a Chinese delegation after winning a gold medal in the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. When she saw a watch in a souvenir shop near the Olympic Museum during her visit, Samaranch quietly walked beside her and said, "This watch really suits you." Yang casually responded, "I like it very much." To her surprise, the old man turned around and bought her the red watch, which she still wears to this day.

In the eyes of Yang, Samaranch's affection for sports went beyond the scope of "love," it became his religion. She will view Samaranch as her role model and idol forever.

Source: Xinhua


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