BERLIN (Reuters) - Former senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Mario Vazquez-Rana, one of the most influential powerbrokers in world sport for decades, has died at the age of 82, officials said.
A Mexican businessman and media owner, who was a member of the powerful IOC executive board, he was also head of the Pan-American Sports Organization (PASO) and the world’s Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) from 1979-2012.
“Mario Vazquez Rana dedicated a great part of his life to Olympic sport,” said IOC President Thomas Bach in a statement.
“He served over decades with great commitment as President of PASO, even until his last moments. He had outstanding merit within the Olympic Movement and we will always remember him as a great Olympic leader.
“The Olympic flag at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne will be flown at half mast in his honor.”
While extremely powerful under former IOC Presidents Juan Antonio Samaranch and Jacques Rogge, Vazquez-Rana, whose brother Olegario is an IOC member, saw his powers wane in recent years.
Vazquez-Rana, who also briefly owned the UPI news agency, resigned from all his IOC posts in 2012 following a bitter public power struggle with Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahah Al-Sabah and Ireland’s Patrick Hickey.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris