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President Juan Antonio Samaranch (R) prepares to give his speech
OLY98020703 - 07 FEBRUARY 1998 - NAGANO, JAPAN: IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch (R) prepares to give his speech, walking to the podium past NAOC President Eishiro Saito who is being assisted from the podium at Minami Nagano sports park during the opening ceremonies of the XVIII Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, February 6th . UPI hr/Heinz Ruckemann
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Don Juan Antonio Samaranch y Torelló, 1st Marquis of Samaranch, Grandee of Spain (17 July 1920 – 21 April 2010), known in Catalan as Joan Antoni Samaranch i Torelló, was a Catalan Spanish sports administrator who served as the seventh President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 1980 to 2001. Samaranch served the second longest term as the head of the IOC, the longest being that of Pierre de Coubertin (29 years).

Samaranch was born into a wealthy family in Barcelona. As a child, he was a keen roller hockey player. During the Spanish Civil War, he was conscripted into the Republican forces in 1938, at the age of 18, to serve as a medical orderly. However, he was politically opposed to the Republic, and escaped to France. He quickly returned to Nationalist Spain under Francisco Franco and enrolled in the Spanish fascist movement Falange.

After the defeat of the Republic in 1939, Samaranch studied commerce at IESE Business School in Barcelona. He had a short career as a sports journalist for La Prensa, which ended in his dismissal in 1943 for criticizing the supporters of Real Madrid C.F. after that club's 11–1 defeat of FC Barcelona, and then joined his family's textile business. He joined the board of La Caixa, Spain's largest savings bank, in 1984, and served as President of the board from 1987 to 1999. He remained as honorary president from his retirement in 1999 to his death.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Juan Antonio Samaranch."
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