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First Base is the equivalent of an 'Editorial'. It is the opportunity for S & A to provide comment and provoke discussion on topical issues relating to leisure and tourism. This will be provided each month and we would welcome your feedback on the matters raised.

First Base 15: Samaranch – End of an era

Date: 27/7/2004

Over the past eight years Juan Antonio Samaranch, president of the IOC, has allowed me to interview him on four occasions.

These interviews have appeared in various issues of 'Leisure Management' generally just before a Summer Olympic Games – Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1994 and Sydney 2000. On each occasion Samaranch used the interview to set out his aspirations for the IOC for the following two years. Dominant themes have been increasing the number of women in sports administration, sport and the environment and, of course, taking drugs.

Whilst pursuing these agendas within the organisation and governance of the IOC, often against a background of considerable press scepticism, Samaranch has successfully manoeuvred the IOC into a major, global, commercial, economic and political force.

The past 20 years of the IOC under his presidency has witnessed a remarkable, not always welcomed, transformation in the scale and influence of the organisation. This history is explored in a forthcoming article for 'Leisure Management'.

In the meantime, the IOC meeting in Moscow this week elected a successor to Samaranch. Jaques Rogge (a Belgian surgeon and former head of Sydney's co-ordinating commission) swept to victory in the second round of voting. He comfortably beat his main rivals – Kim Un-Yong of South Korea and Canadian Dick Pound.

Rogge will serve an eight year term, renewable only once for a further four years. He is seen as the natural successor to Samaranch and his appointment has been welcomed across the sporting world.

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