Juan Antonio Samaranch is being honored with an Olympic-size memorial in Asia…
The late Spanish sports administrator, who served as the seventh president of the International Olympic Committee, has been feted with a memorial museum in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin.
The museum, which was inaugurated on Sunday, pays tribute to Samaranch, who served the second longest term as the head of the IOC during his career.
Samaranch is undoubtedly the most famous and beloved Spaniard in China – the country’s citizens feel that his support was vital in organizing the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing – and now China is devoting to him what could be considered its largest and most ambitious museum in honor of a foreigner.
Samaranch, who died three years ago at the age of 89, was “a visionary who strengthened and united the Olympic movement,” as well as “a friend … (who) left a great legacy that will be preserved for perpetuity,” said Jacques Rogge, the current president of the IOC.
The building, with a floor plan in the shape of a ring and a design that was contributed to by one of Samaranch’s granddaughters, architect Ana Gras, was the initiative of Taiwan’s representative to the IOC, Wu Ching-Kuo, the president of the International Boxing Association.
The museum displays 16,000 of Samaranch’s personal items, from medals and trophies he won as a young man in different sports to a reproduction of his IOC office, furniture from his home, sports clothing belonging to him, pictures and photographs of him with his family and even bottles of cologne that he used during his life.