Juan Antonio Samaranch - Born In Barcelona
Famous Sports StarsOther SportsJuan Antonio Samaranch Biography - Born In Barcelona, Elected President Of Ioc, Chronology, Recruits Corporate Sponsors, Guides Ioc To Financial Success - CONTACT INFORMATION, SELECTED WRITINGS BY SAMARANCH:
Born in Barcelona
He was born Juan Antonio Samaranch Torello in Barcelona, Spain, on July 17, 1920. The son of Francisco, the wealthy owner of a prosperous upholstery business, and Juana (Torello) Samaranch, he showed an early interest in sports. After graduating from the Higher Institute of Business Studies in Barcelona, he worked briefly in the family business and later became involved in the banking industry. At college Samaranch became interested in roller hockey, a sport for which he later organized the world championships. He also got involved in local and national politics, serving for a time as city councilor in Barcelona. In 1954, Samaranch was named to Spain's Olympic Committee and two years later served as his country's chief representative at the 1956 Winter Games. He also represented Spain at both the 1960 and 1964 Summer Games. In 1955, Samaranch married fellow Barcelonan Maria Teresa Salisachs Rowe, whose mother was British. The couple has one son, Juan Antonio, Jr.
In 1966 Spanish dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco named Samaranch to a cabinet-level post over-seeing sports development in Spain. Shortly thereafter, he was elected a member of the IOC. A year after joining the IOC, Samaranch was elected president of the Spanish Olympic Committee. His involvement in Spanish politics continued, and in the late 1970s, after the death of Franco, he served as Spain's first ambassador to the Soviet Union, a country with which Spain had had a strained relationship during Franco's rule. The contacts Samaranch made with influential Soviets during his years as ambassador were to serve him well as he rose through the ranks of the IOC.