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World Sports in Mourning 21/04/2010

J. A. Samaranch Together with the entire world of sports, the International DanceSport Federation is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Juan Antonio Samaranch at the age of 89. He was widely credited with renewing and fundamentally changing the landscape of the Olympic Movement. DanceSport, too, lost a close friend and ally. HE J. A. Samaranch agreed to assume the role of IDSF Ambassador at Large in 2006. He is probably best remembered as the guest of honour at the 2007 Annual General Meeting in Barcelona, ESP, addressing the delegates with a memorable speech on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of IDSF:

"Friends of DanceSport,

"IDSF is an example for a sports organisation which adapts to the requirements of today's world. During my presidency of the International Olympic Committee I had the honour of approving IDSF as a Recognised Federation. Ever since - under the initiative and energy of its President Carlos Freitag - IDSF has taken on new challenges: the recent agreement with the International Paralympic Committee to develop Wheelchair DanceSport jointly, the adapation to the requirements of television, new competitions, etc. I congratulate you on a job well done!"

"In his words, we could all feel the appreciation for our work and our sport," remembers IDSF President Carlos Freitag. HE J. A. Samaranch met with the IDSF President at regular intervals to discuss the continued development of DanceSport and to provide valuable advice. An interview with the sports leader was included in issue #3 of the World DanceSport Magazine.

The International Olympic Committte recalls his many achievements in a media release circulated a few hours ago.

"J. A. Samaranch's priority was to  build up the Olympic Games of the modern era and his knowledge of sport was truly exceptional. Thanks to his extraordinary vision and talent, Mr. Samaranch was the architect of a strong and unified Olympic Movement. He was a great man, a mentor and a friend who dedicated his long and fulfilled life to Olympism.

Born in Barcelona in 1920, Mr.Samaranch pursued an outstanding career as diplomat and sports administrator before leading the IOC for 21 years.

Soon after his election, Mr.Samaranch worked towards the abolition of amateurism at the Olympic Games. Despite two boycotts in Moscow in 1980 and in Los Angeles in 1984, he managed to maintain the quality of the Games and increase the number of participating countries. He was the man behind improving the financial health of the Olympic Movement, developing TV rights and sponsorship negotiations and strengthening Olympic Solidarity, the organ by which the IOC redistributes its revenue in order to ensure the training and participation of athletes at the Olympic Games."

The IDSF Presidium has expressed its deepest sympathy to Juan Antonio Samaranch’s family.