Australian tributes to Samaranch for role in Sydney Olympics
Australia paid tribute on Friday to Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former International Olympic Committee president, for his role in bringing the Olympic Games to Sydney in 2000.india Updated: Apr 22, 2010 10:40 IST
Australia paid tribute on Friday to Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former International Olympic Committee president, for his role in bringing the Olympic Games to Sydney in 2000.
Samaranch, 89, who headed the Olympic movement from 1980-2001, passed away from a cardiorespiratory arrest in a Barcelona hospital on Thursday.
Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said his organisation was particularly close to Samaranch as his IOC presidency covered the period of the three most recent Australian bids to host the Olympic Games.
"He always gave us great encouragement, strong support and, in my case, wise counsel and direction on many occasions," Coates said in a statement.
"I know it gave him great pleasure and satisfaction to declare our Sydney Olympic Games "the best Games ever" in his speech at the Closing Ceremony."
Samaranch made a special trip back to Sydney for the ceremony after returning to Spain during the games following the death of his wife, Coates said.
Australia's longest-serving IOC member, Kevan Gosper, said:"It was a privilege to work with him on the IOC Executive Board for 16 years.
"I admired the way he opened up the Olympic movement, brought women into more active roles and always put the athlete to the forefront. Frankly, I thought the world of him."