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19 Apr 2010

Past IOC President Passes Away

Former International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch has today passed away, 21 April 2010.

The Spaniard was widely regarded as the most powerful man in sport when he headed the IOC from 1980 to 2001. He oversaw the commercialisation of the Olympics during the 1980s and 1990s and established the Games as a world force. During his tenure, Samaranch helped revitalise the economic fortunes of the IOC

Samaranch retired as IOC President in 2001, after 21 years at the helm. Only Pierre de Coubertin, the "father" of the modern Olympics - and IOC chief from 1896 to 1925 - had held the post for a longer period. Samaranch was subsequently made Honorary Life President.

Born in Barcelona on 17 July, 1920, Samaranch enjoyed success as a roller-skater and led the Spanish team to the world title. He pursued a career in sports politics and won a place on the IOC in 1966, before succeeding Lord Killanin as IOC President in 1980.

Samaranch was an advocate of including women's events in the Olympic Programme and during his Presidency the two-person dinghy event for women in the 470 was introduced at the 1998 Olympics.

A keen supporter of sailing, Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded the IOC President's Cup to the top performing nation at the ISAF Sailing World Championships, which was first presented in 1999 in Melbourne, Australia to the host nation. Next year it will be contetested in Perth, Australia. Juan Antonio Samaranch donated the Cup as a perpetual trophy for the 1999 ISAF Sailing World Championships and for future combined World Championships for the Olympic Classes.

470 Internationale expresses condolences to the family and friends of Juan Antonio Samaranch.

More Information:
IOC Website

Image: l-r - Jacques Rogge and Juan Antonio Samaranch © IOC

Source: IOC and BBC