Top Olympic Bid Stories of 2010: #1 IOC Past President Juan Antonio Samaranch Dies

GamesBids.com presents the third annual Top Ten list of Olympic Bid Stories for 2010. These stories impacted the course of Olympic bids, or the Olympic bid process, and formed interesting plotlines for the year. Finally, here is this year’s top story.

Top Olympic Bid Stories of 2010: #1 IOC Past President Juan Antonio Samaranch Dies

In April, former President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Juan Antonio Samaranch died of heart failure at the age of 89. He ran the Olympic movement for almost 20 years during a period of great change and significant growth. International reaction to his death exhibited how influential the Spaniard was in the world of sport.

His impact on the IOC was particulary resonant on the bidding process, first when he was instrumental in the election of his hometown of Barcelona, Spain to host the 1992 Olympic Games. In those Games’ closing ceremonies he said Barcelona 1992 was “…without a doubt the best Games in Olympic history.”

After the vote-buying scandal of 1998, Samaranch acted quickly to protect the bid process by setting up a commission that would later implelement several strict reforms that dictate how the process runs today.

Samaranch, who was looking for a legacy of his presidency, campaigned heavily to hold the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing China, a first for the world’s most populous nation. Beijing decidedly won the election allowing the outgoing IOC President the satisfaction of helping bring the Olympic Games to a bold new frontier.

As a mentor, Samaranch had a huge impact on Olympic track star Seb Coe. So inspired, Coe went on to lead London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games and has continued on to organize these Games.

In 2009, Samaranch campaigned to bring the Games back to Spain and he represented Madrid to achieve this goal for 2016. In his final speach to IOC members before the vote, the former IOC President referenced his ill health as part of his plea to have Madrid elected – sounding much like a dying man’s final wish. Evidently it was, but Madrid lost the bid on the final ballot to a newer frontier, Rio de Janeiro.

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About Robert Livingstone


A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.