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Olympic chief Juan Antonio Samaranch

Matt Schudel


Juan Antonio Samaranch, the longtime president of International Olympic Committee (IOC), has died in Barcelona at age 89. We'll have a more extensive staff-written obituary ready soon.

Samaranch led the Olympic Committee from 1980 to 2001 and helped make it a huge force in international commerce and, in some ways, politics, as well as sports. He certainly had his detractors, who accused him of corruption, cronyism, misogyny and elitism, but no one can deny that he brought the Olympic movement into the 21st century.

Dick Pound, a Canadian member of the IOC, told the Associated Press:
"He took a very badly fragmented, disorganized and impecunious organization and built it into a universal, united and financially and politically independent organization that has credibility, not only in the world of sport, but also in political circles. That's an enormous achievement to accomplish in 20 years."

By Matt Schudel  |  April 21, 2010; 10:47 AM ET
Categories:  Matt Schudel  | Tags: International olympic committee head, Juan Antonio Samaranch died, ioc chief, ioc head, olympic games, samaranch olympics  
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