Juan Antonio Samaranch, former IOC President (1980-2001). photo courtesy of Olympic.org, Associated Press.
MONTE CARLO (MON): Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, 89, on Tuesday suffered a mild heart attack at the Grimaldi Forum, where he was attending the Sportel international sports television festival, and was taken to Princess Grace hospital in Monaco as a precaution, sources said. The news.yahoo.com said he had responded well to treatment and was set to stay in hospital for two or three days as a precaution owing to his age.
Juan Antonio Samaranch is an iconic figure in the development of the IOC and the elevation of the Olympics as global sporting and cultural events. Samaranch was IOC President from 1980, following the death of Lord Killanin, until 2001, with the election of Jaques Rogge.
Samaranch has forgotten more about global sports politics than the USOC board could ever learn. It was Samaranch who taught third world countries the power of their votes in IOC elections and IOC Olympic bids.
He most recently used his skills to the full, in imploring IOC voters to reward the city of Madrid with the 2016 bid. In using those skills, he deftly annihilated the chances of Chicago 2016 in the first round. That the USOC failed to court Samaranch was a key mistake in their support of the Chicago 2016 bid.
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