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Samaranch Memorial opens in China


08:17, April 22, 2013

TIANJIN, April 21 (Xinhua) -- A memorial complex dedicated to late International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch opened in Tianjin, China, on Sunday to commemorate his huge legacy.

The unveiling ceremony was attended by several IOC members, including current President Jacques Rogge and Executive Board member Juan Antonio Samaranch Junior, son of the former President who died exactly three years ago on April 21, 2010, at the age of 89.

Also in attendance was IOC Executive Board member Wu Ching-Kuo of Chinese Taipei, a world-renowned architecture expert who conceived and founded the Samaranch Memorial.

The 144,000 square-meter Memorial features the vast majority of Samaranch's lifelong Olympic collection that he donated to Wu shortly before his death. There are more than 16,000 items in the collection but currently only a 1,000 are on display with the exhibits due to be rotated.

"It was very important for the Memorial to open today, exactly three years on from the death of my great friend and mentor Juan Antonio Samaranch," said Wu.

During his 21-year term as IOC President Samaranch took the IOC from near bankruptcy when he began in office to huge financial prosperity by the time he stepped down in 2001, largely through securing major television and sponsorships deals.

His numerous feats have made Samaranch the most influential and significant figure in the history of the Olympic Movement since the founder of the Modern Olympic Games Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

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