Sports Executive, Ambassador. He served as the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from July 1980 to July 2001. He was forced to serve during the 1936 Spanish Civil War with the Spanish Republicans, before escaping to France, where he pledged his allegiance and support to the pro fascist uprising led by General Francisco Franco. From 1977 to 1980 he served as Spain's ambassador to both the Soviet Union and Mongolia. During his tenure as IOC president, he is credited with saving the Olympic Games from near certain bankruptcy to a multi-billion dollar industry. Under his leadership, he radically reformed the Olympic Games movement, attracting global corporate sponsorships, in conjunction with generating unprecedented financial revenues from improved television contracts. In 1999 he was implicated, and eventually cleared in a bribery and corruption scandal, over allegations of improper involvement in the selection of Salt Lake City as the host city of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. He died in his native Barcelona from heart failure.
Bio by: Nils M. Solsvik Jr.