3 minute read

Juan Antonio Samaranch

Guides Ioc To Financial Success

Despite the criticism of certain aspects of the Olympic operation, there can be no argument with the overall success of the IOC under the direction of Samaranch. At the time he took over the reins of the organization in 1980, the IOC reportedly had only $500,000 in its treasury. In mid-2001, the committee's coffers held approximately $350 million. In 1980 worldwide television rights brought in $122 million; the current host, NBC, paid $1.8 billion for the rights to five Olympics. According to a report in New Zealand's Sunday Star Times, under Samaranch's leadership, Olympic broadcast hours increased from 500 to 3,800; ticket sales swelled from $13 million to $625 million; and total income from marketing rose tenfold to $3.7 billion.

Marring the Olympic success story was the scandal related to Salt Lake City's successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games. In June 1995 the IOC announced the selection of Utah's largest city as the site for the 2002 Winter Games. A little over three years later, reports surfaced in the media alleging that the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) had in effect bribed IOC members to win approval. In the end, the ensuing scandal cost ten IOC members their jobs. While Samaranch himself was never implicated in the scandal, he and other top IOC officials were widely criticized for their failure to thoroughly investigate earlier complaints of inappropriate behavior.

Samaranch managed to survive the Salt Lake City scandal but about seven months before the Winter Games of 2002, he stepped down as IOC president, surrendering the post to Belgian surgeon Jacques Rogge, a former Olympic sailor. But Samaranch will never stray far from the Olympic movement, having been named Honorary President for Life shortly before he stepped down. He also presided over the selection of his son, Juan Antonio Jr., as a new delegate to the IOC. In his formal farewell to IOC members, Samaranch said: "Thank you for having allowed me to serve the Olympic movement. Goodbye and hasta la vista." Despite the taint of the Salt Lake City scandal, there can be little doubt that Samaranch left the organization in far better shape than that in which he found it more than two decades earlier.

Awards and Accomplishments

1988 Attracts record number of nations (160) to Seoul Summer Games
1989 Donates collection of Olympic stamps to Olympic Museum
1992 Attracts record number of nations (169) to Barcelona Summer Games
1996 Attracts record number of nations (197) to Atlanta Summer Games
1998 Opens internal IOC probe into Salt Lake City scandal
1999 Announces expulsion of six IOC members over scandal on March 17; others had resigned earlier
2000 Attracts record number of nations (199) to Sydney Summer Games

Related Biography: IOC President Jacques Rogge

Former Olympic yachtsman Jacques Rogge succeeded Samaranch as president of the scandal-tainted International Olympic Committee (IOC) on July 16, 2001. An orthopedic surgeon by profession, Rogge has been a delegate to the IOC since 1991. In 1998 he was elected to the organization's executive board and was a protégé of Samaranch.

Born in Ghent, Belgium, on May 2, 1942, Rogge participated in yachting competitions at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City, the 1972 Summer Games in Munich, and the Montreal Summer Games in 1976. Away from the Olympics, he was for a time a member of Belgium's national rugby team.

Married and the father of two children, Rogge served as president of the Belgian National Olympic Committee from 1989 to 1992. In 1989, he was elected president of the European Olympic Committees.

Additional topics

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: