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Syed, Matthew

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The Times - United Kingdom | 22/04/2010

Samaranch robbed the Olympics of their innocence

Juan Antonio Samaranch, from 1980 to 2001 president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), passed away on Wednesday. The daily The Times writes that as president he transformed the Olympic Games from an amateur sporting event into a corrupt multi-million dollar show, and robbed them of their innocence: "All around the world youngsters dream of Olympic gold. From the plains of Africa to the dusty streets of Rio, from Manchester to Manila, budding athletes aspire to climb the fabled podium and to inhabit the imagination of the world. The tenure of Samaranch was not a betrayal of the vested interests that continue to cling to the Olympic movement; it was a betrayal of dreams. It was as if the collective endeavour of the athletes of the world - the men and women the Olympics are supposed to be about - were merely grist to the mill of executive corruption."

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