Acknowledgement: Juan Antonio Samaranch (1920-2010)
One of the longest-serving and most influential Presidents of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, would have reached the age of 100 had he still been alive on July 17, 2020.
The Marquis of Samaranch was instrumental in the development of Modern Pentathlon during his IOC Presidency (1980-2001). He was a strong supporter of the evolution of the sport and in December 1997 he gave a commitment to UIPM that the introduction of women’s pentathlon to the Olympic Games would be proposed.
One month later, at the IOC Session in Nagano (JAP) before the Olympic Winter Games, members voted for the addition of a women’s event to the Olympic Modern Pentathlon programme at Sydney 2000.
On June 5, 2002, the Marquis became an Honorary Member of UIPM during celebrations to mark the 90th anniversary of Modern Pentathlon as an Olympic sport. Until his death in 2010 he remained a passionate advocate of the modernisation of Modern Pentathlon, and in 2016 he became one of the first inductees to the UIPM Hall of Fame.
UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said: “On July 17 we paused to remember Juan Antonio Samaranch and the profound impact that he had on our sporting movement.
“On a personal level, I first met the Marquis of Samaranch during the Olympic Winter Games Calgary 1988. In my position as a Council Member of the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderene et Biathlon (UIPMB) I spoke with him about Modern Pentathlon for the first time and he started to make notes.
“We are honoured to continue the family tradition by having his son, Juan Antonio Jr, as 1st Vice-President of our Union while also playing a central role within the IOC.”