BEIJING (AP) – A member of the International Olympic Committee, which oversaw preparations for the Beijing Games, was re-elected to the executive board on Saturday.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, whose father was president of the IOC in 1980-2001, was the only candidate for the only vice-presidential post that was open.
The move puts Samarancha in a position for the expected presidency of the IOC. Current IOC rules require Thomas Bach to stay aside in 2025 after 12 years as president.
“You can’t, or maybe you can imagine, how happy I am to continue working with all of you,” Samaranch told IOC members.
Samaranch received 72 votes in favor and four against. Nine abstained.
Samaranch will take over as Vice President of China Yu Zayqing, who was forced to resign after serving a maximum of two consecutive four-year terms.
Samaranch previously served as vice president in 2016-20. He is now returning to the 15-member IOC board, where decision-making and power have become more concentrated under Bach’s practical guidance.
Samaranch has served as chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission at the Beijing Olympics since 2018 and has become a major point of contact with officials in China.
He has long ties with the country. In 2012, he founded the government-sponsored Chinese Samarancha Foundation, which said it wanted to develop Olympic culture in the country in honor of his father. Elder Samaranch, who had the same name, died in 2010.
The IOC council now includes several potential candidates for Bach’s successor, including another vice president, Nicole Hoverts of Aruba.
On Saturday, Hoverts, who competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Synchronized Olympics, resumed membership in the IOC. She heads the IOC’s oversight of the 2028 Los Angeles Games.
Five new IOC members were appointed on Saturday, including refugee athlete Jeh Pur Bil, who competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics. He was sent from South Sudan as a child to live in a refugee camp in Kenya before training and winning selection for the first Olympic refugee team.
The IOC has also extended the membership of Luis Albert Moreno, a former diplomat who is an official observer of the Olympic Organization at the UN. Moreno is a former Colombian ambassador to the United States.
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