Former IOC chief Samaranch dies at 89, Rogge pays tribute (4)

08:12, April 22, 2010      

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In this file photo taken on Aug. 13, 2008, Juan Antonio Samaranch (R), former president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), awards medals to medalists of the men's 1km time trial (LC 2) of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games cycling track event in Beijing, capital of China. Juan Antonio Samaranch died at the age of 89 on April 21, 2010 in Barcelona after suffering from severe heart attack. (Xinhua)

Samaranch was the man behind improving the financial health of the Olympic Movement, developing TV rights and sponsorship negotiations and strengthening Olympic Solidarity, the organ by which the IOC redistributes its revenue in order to ensure the training and participation of athletes at the Olympic Games.
The IOC said in the statement that Samaranch was responsible for the new IOC headquarters building in Vidy and for inaugurating The Olympic Museum in Lausanne. He also championed the representation of women in the IOC, overseeing the entry of the first women members in the 1980s.

He was likewise responsible for setting up the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and for involving the athletes themselves in the decision-making of the IOC by creating the IOC Athletes' Commission.

A diplomat, Samaranch started his career as Municipal Councillor responsible for sport in the City of Barcelona. He then took on the role of National Delegate for Physical Education and Sport before becoming President of the Barcelona Diputacion. He was appointed Spanish Ambassador to the former Soviet Union and the People's Republic of Mongolia from 1977 to 1980.

Before his election as IOC President in Moscow in 1980, Samaranch had a long career in sports administration. He was a member and subsequently President of the Spanish National Olympic Committee from 1967 to 1970; President of the Spanish Skating Federation; and Chef de Mission at the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956, in Rome in 1960 and in Tokyo in 1964. He was himself a keen rink hockey player.

The Spaniard, who was made honorary life president of the IOC on his retirement, has suffered from health problems since stepping down.

In September 2001 he spent 11 days in hospital with fatigue, while towards the end of last year he was admitted to intensive care in Monaco with difficulty breathing.

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