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Juan Antonio Samaranch Torelló, Marquess of Samaranch (born 17 July 1920 in Barcelonamarker) is a Spanishmarker sports official who served as the 7th President of the International Olympic Committeemarker (IOC) from 1980 to 2001.


Samaranch, born into a wealthy family, studied commerce at IESE Business Schoolmarker in Barcelonamarker. He had been the chef de mission of the Spanish team at a number of Olympic events, before he was appointed as the Government Secretary for Sports by Spanish Head of State Francisco Franco in 1967, also becoming the president of the Spanish National Olympic Committee and a member of the IOC. Samaranch was a prominent figure in the last years of Franco's regime. He was vice-president of the IOC from 1974 and 1978, and he was appointed as the Spanish ambassador to the Soviet Unionmarker and Mongoliamarker from 1977 to 1980. In 1991, because of his efforts in support of the Olympic movement, he was given a title of Marqués (Marquess) de Samaranch by the King of Spain.

IOC Presidency

Samaranch was elected President of the IOC at the 83rd IOC Session in Moscowmarker, that was held prior to the 1980 Summer Olympics - between 15 July and 18 July 1980.


During his term, Samaranch managed to make the Olympic Movement financially healthy, with big television deals and sponsorships. Although the 1984 Summer Olympics were still boycotted by the Eastern bloc, the number of nations with a membership of the IOC and participating increased at every Games during Samaranch's presidency. Samaranch also wanted the best athletes to compete in the Olympics, which led to the gradual acceptance of professional athletes.

One achievement of Samaranch has undoubtedly been the financial rescue of the IOC, which was in financial crisis in the 1970s. The games themselves were such a burden on host cities that it appeared that no host would be found for future Olympiads. Under Samaranch, the IOC revamped its sponsorship arrangements (choosing to go with global sponsors rather than allowing each national federation to take local ones), and new broadcasting deals which brought in much money.

It became a tradition for Samaranch, when giving the President's address at the close of each Summer Olympics, to praise the organisers at each Olympiad for putting on "the best ever" Games. He withheld this phrase only once, at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgiamarker where the organisation had come under heavy criticism.


What the IOC does with its new-found millions is, however, the subject of much speculation and criticism, with some criticizing the over-commercialization of what had used to be a strictly-amateur competition, while others began accusing the IOC of corruption.

Also during his tenure as IOC president, Samaranch insisted that he be addressed with the title of "Excellency", a title used for heads of state. In addition, when he traveled to conduct Olympic business, he would insist on a chauffeured limousine as well as a presidential suite in the finest hotel of whatever city he visited. The IOC put an annual rental (at a cost of US$500,000 per year) at a presidential suite for his stays in Lausannemarker, Switzerland, where the IOC headquarters are located.


Besides his lavish accommodations, he was increasingly criticized for the judging and doping scandals and rampant corruption that occurred under his watch. A closed-door inquiry later expelled several IOC members for accepting bribes but cleared Samaranch of wrongdoing. Samaranch declared that the IOC's worst crisis was over but a group of former Olympic athletes, led by Mark Tewksbury, continued to push for his removal. There were allegations of vote buying in Salt Lake City, Utah's successful bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The scandal exposed runaway corruption within the IOC.


In 2001, Samaranch did not apply for the presidency again. He was succeeded by Jacques Rogge. He then became Honorary President for Life of the International Olympic Committee.


He married Maria Teresa Salisachs Rowe, known as "Bibí" (26 December 1931 - 16 September 2000), on 1 December 1955. Two children were born of this marriage. His son, Juan Antonio Samaranch Salisachs, is currently a member of the International Olympic Committee. He also has a daughter, Maria Teresa.

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