Former IOC president Samaranch in 'very serious condition'
AP Sports Writer
MADRID — Former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch was in "very serious" condition today in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Barcelona.
Quiron Hospital chief of internal medicine Rafael Esteban said the 89-year-old Spaniard was under observation for heart problems. He has been bothered by health issues for several years.
"Mr. Juan Antonio Samaranch Torello has been admitted to the Quiron Hospital of Barcelona with an acute coronary insufficiency," Esteban said in a statement. "He is currently in intensive care and his prognosis is very serious."
Samaranch, who headed the IOC from 1980-2001, was hospitalized for 11 days in Switzerland in 2001 with "extreme fatigue" after returning from an IOC session in Moscow, where Jacques Rogge was elected as his successor.
He was also hospitalized shortly afterward in Barcelona for what was described as high blood pressure. He has received regular dialysis treatment for kidney trouble.
Samaranch spent two days in a hospital in Madrid in 2007 after a dizzy spell, and underwent hospital checks in Monaco in October after feeling ill at a sports conference.
Samaranch retired after 21 years as the second-longest serving president in the history of the IOC. His era was marked by political boycotts, the end of amateurism and the advent of professionalism, the explosion of commercialization, a boom in growth and popularity of the games, the scourge of doping and the Salt Lake City corruption scandal.
He considered stepping down after the 1992 Olympics in his home city of Barcelona and again after the centennial games in Atlanta in 1996. Each time, encouraged by his supporters, he chose to continue. Twice, he had the age limit changed to allow him to stay on.
Even in retirement, Samaranch remained active in Olympic circles and tried to help Madrid secure the 2012 and 2016 Games. Madrid finished third behind winner London and Paris in the vote for the 2012 Olympics, and second to Rio de Janeiro for 2016.
Associated Press writer Jorge Sainz contributed to this report.