The Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED) presents the 11th installment of the series dedicated to the most notable academicians of its centennial history, this time to another of its illustrious characters and universal reference of sport: the historic president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Juan Antonio Samaranch, marquis of Samaranch (1920-2010). Another of the great figures of science and thought that have been part of the RAED and that the current Governing Board wants to thank, acknowledge and claim, in the conviction that who has no memory, has no future. The selection of these select academicians, from all fields of knowledge, is the result of research carried out for the publication of the “Book of the Centenary” of the Royal Academy, published three years ago. Personalities that transcend their historical context to appear today as referents of knowledge.
A great fan from a young age to sports, he stood out as a roller hockey player, although he also practiced soccer and boxing. His ties to olympism date back to the Helsinki Olympics’52, when he covered the sports event as a journalist. However, his professional life chose both the world of business and corporate management after conducting business and business studies as well as sports management, as he developed as a hockey technician and as president of the Spanish Skating Federation. Activities that also combined with politics after starting his career as councilor for Sports in the City of Barcelona (1954-1962), organizing in that city the 2nd Mediterranean Games. Later, in 1966, he was appointed national delegate of Physical Education and Sports.
In 1973 he was appointed president of the Deputation of Barcelona and four years later, ambassador to the Soviet Union and Mongolia. At that same stage he held the position of vicepresident of the International Olympic Committee, in which he joined as representative of Spain in 1966. He was elected president of the IOC in Moscow in 1980, in an assembly prior to the Olympic Games. He held the position until 2001, but not before seeing his dream of an Olympiad held in Barcelona, his hometown.
Samaranch entered the Royal European Academy of Doctors in 1995, during a solemn ceremony that was held at the headquarters of La Caixa, in Barcelona. The recipient read the admission speech “La cultura como parte integral del olimpismo” (Culture as an integral part of olympism), which the Academy treasures with pride. In his work, the then president of the International Olympic Committee addressed the origins of olympism as a conjunction of sport, culture and art and a symbol of peace.