"It is with a profound sense of sadness that I must inform you of the death of the Marqués de Samaranch, Honorary President of the International Olympic Committee."
"Thanks to his extraordinary vision and talent, President Samaranch was the architect of a strong, unified Olympic Movement. I would like to pay tribute to all his remarkable achievements and his passion for our Movement and its values."
Born in Barcelona in 1920, President Samaranch had a distinguished career as a sports administrator and as a diplomat.
Elected as President of the IOC in Moscow in 1980, Juan Antonio Samaranch delivered during his career a formidable set of achievements. He was able finally to deal with the issue of amateurism which had affected the Olympic Movement since its creation. He faced down the menace of boycotts after the Games in Los Angeles in 1984. He built a strong financial structure for the Olympic Movement. He developed Olympic Solidarity. He created the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He opened the doors of the IOC to women and to athletes, and he introduced the reforms which had become essential to the IOC in 2000. He also built the new headquarters of the IOC and The Olympic Museum and, in one of his proudest personal moments, he saw the Olympic Games organised in the city of his birth in 1992.
Juan Antonio Samaranch started his career as the Municipal Councillor responsible for sport in the city of Barcelona, before going on to be a national delegate for physical education and sport and then representing his city as President of the "Diputación". He was later Spanish Ambassador to the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of Mongolia from 1977 to 1980. Before his election as IOC President in Moscow in 1980, President Samaranch had already had a long and distinguished career in sports administration. He organised the Mediterranean Games in 1965. He was a member, then President, of the Spanish NOC from 1967 to 1970; President of the Spanish Skating Federation; and Chef de Mission at the Olympic Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1956, Rome in 1960 and Tokyo in 1964. He was also an athlete in rink hockey. Finally, he was named Honorary President of the IOC in 2001.
ISAF would like to join the IOC in expressing its deep condolences to the family of Juan Antonio Samaranch.
A service of commemoration to celebrate his life will be organised in Lausanne, and the IOC will advise the date and place. The IOC will also organise a commemorative service in homage to President Samaranch during the Youth Olympic Games, this summer in Singapore.