Former IOC head rememberedPresident Lee Myung-bak sent a message of condolence yesterday to the family of Juan Antonio Samaranch, former head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Blue House said.
“His lifetime dedication to the Olympics and accomplishments for the development of the world’s sports will be remembered forever,” Lee’s message said. “Koreans will never forget his affection and support for South Korea.”
Samaranch died Wednesday at a clinic in his native Barcelona, Spain, where he was admitted for acute heart problems. He was 89.
Samaranch served as president of the IOC for two decades beginning in 1980 and was named honorary head of the organization when he stepped down in 2001.
He first visited Korea in 1982 and backed Seoul’s bid to host the 1988 Olympics. He received the Seoul Peace Award in 1990 and also helped make taekwondo, a Korean martial art, an official sport at the summer Olympics starting in 2000.