Juan Antonio Samaranch - Elected President Of Ioc
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Elected President of IOC
The 1980 Olympic Summer Games in Moscow were boycotted by the United States and many of its allies. The athletes of only 81 countries participated in the Moscow Games. Against this backdrop, Samaranch, who was then serving as the IOC's chief of protocol, was elected president of the Olympic organization. A major factor in his election was Samaranch's close ties to influential political figures in both the West and the East. It was believed that he was ideally positioned to broker some sort of Olympic détente between the opposing political forces of East and West. Despite his best efforts, however, Samaranch was unable to head off a Soviet-led boycott of the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, staged largely in retaliation for the 1980 U.S.-led boycott of the Moscow Games. According to the official Soviet line, the boycott was motivated by growing concerns about anti-Soviet hysteria in Los Angeles. The Soviets cited in particular the activities of the Ban the Soviets Coalition, a group formed to conduct letter-writing campaigns to Soviet officials and open safe houses where Soviet Bloc athletes could be encouraged to defect.
Although he had failed to prevent a boycott of the Los Angeles Games by the Soviet Bloc, Samaranch did manage to heal bruised feelings among all parties in time to attract a record total of 160 countries to the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea. Under Samaranch's direction, the Olympic Games became a prize that cities around the world competed fiercely to attract. In the process, the IOC's coffers grew accordingly. He managed to increase participation in the Olympic Games by broadening the membership of the IOC, bringing in more of the less developed countries. Critics of Samaranch pointed out that IOC delegates from the poorer nations of the world were easier for him to keep in line and manipulate.
- Juan Antonio Samaranch - Chronology
- Juan Antonio Samaranch - Born In Barcelona
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