Former President of the International Olympic Committee Juan Antonio Samaranch, who steered the IOC for over two decades (1980-2001) in the times of political boycotts, bribery and doping scandals, passed away on Wednesday afternoon at the Quiron Clinic in his native Barcelona at the age of 89.
Samaranch was elected President of the IOC at the 83rd IOC Session in Moscow in mid-July that was held prior to the 1980 Summer Olympics.
He was the first to give a new unique definition to relations between sports and politics under the present day conditions.
"The political problems, which always were, render this or that influence on the course of Games, but, as the Olympic movement becomes more and more strong with each year, it can influence on the solving of these problems," he said.
Even in the most difficult years of political boycotts of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, he heroically carried the torch of the Olympic Movement.
Under his presidency, the IOC established cooperation with the International Association of Sports Information (IASI) and the Olympic Games at that time were broadcast by the world's leading television companies. The scale of broadcasting has considerably extended to include shows over the Internet.
In 1993, Samaranch initiated the opening of the Olympics Museum in Switzerland's Lausanne.
At the IOC session in Lausanne in 1999, Samaranch made a number of crucial decisions aimed at the eradication of corruption in the IOC and established the International Olympics Committee on Ethics.
He married Maria Teresa Salisachs Rowe, known as "Bibi" (December 26, 1931 - September 16, 2000), on December 1, 1955. He is survived by his son Juan Antonio Samaranch Salisachs and daughter Maria Teresa.
MOSCOW, April 21 (RIA Novosti)