SAMARANCH Juan Antonio (1920) Spain / IOC
This ex rink hockey player and captain made the Catalans' dream come true by successfully applying for his home town, Barcelona, to host the 1992 Olympic games.Juan Antonio Samaranch, who was elected to head the international Olympic committee in 1980, was to remain president of the IOC for a few more months. To do this he forced a vote enabling him to retain the presidency beyond the maximum of eight years provided by the two mandates.Samaranch is an ex diplomat who was Spanish ambassador in the USSR following the renewal of diplomatic relations between the USSR and Spain. It was at this time that Moscow hosted the games and he became president of the IOC.Under Samaranch's presidency the International Olympic Committee acquired first rate political, economic and sporting powers. Juan Antonio Samaranch made this organisation highly respected throughout the world.However incidents of corruption revealed in 1998 marred this achievement. As those presumed guilty have been dismissed, the IOC should regain its credibility. Profoundly affected by the death of his wife during the Sydney games, the IOC present had to leave Australia suddenly before bravely returning in the middle of the first week.Juan Antonio Samaranch is an art lover; he has endowed the Olympic museum with his large collection of stamps. medals and sporting emblems. He now devotes himself full time to the Olympic movement, and like the founding father of the games, Pierre de Coubertin before him, lives in Lausanne. He will give up the presidency in July 2001 after having revealed the name of the host city for the 2008 games.