IOC mourn death of 'China's Mr. Olympics' He

Updated: 2015-01-05 10:12


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IOC mourn death of 'China's Mr. Olympics' He

IOC President Thomas Bach visits ailing He Zhenliang in this undated photo. [Photo/Tencent]

GENEVA - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) expressed great sadness for the death of former IOC member and vice president He Zhenliang on Sunday.

"It is with great sadness that the IOC has learnt of the death of Zhenliang He, IOC Honorary Member in the People's Republic of China, aged 85," said a release of the IOC official website

The IOC President Thomas Bach has asked for the Olympic flag to be flown half-mast for three days in tribute to He.

He died in Beijing, China, on Sunday for illness.

He was elected to the IOC in 1981 and elected IOC vice president in 1989. Nicknamed "China's Mr. Olympics", He was instrumental in Beijing's successful bid for the right to host the 2008 Olympic Games.

"A career politician, Mr. He was instrumental in bringing China back into Olympic Movement ... He was firm believer in sport's ability to educate, and long championed the teaching of the Olympic values as well as sport in school curricula," the IOC said.

IOC President Bach was quoted as saying in the release that "Mr. He was a man of culture and art. He was a true advocate of the social values of sport and of our Movement and I would like to pay tribute to the passion and energy he deployed over the years to fulfill his mission as an IOC Member in China."

"He also helped our Movement better understand his country, its people and outstanding culture. The Olympic Movement has lost one of its most fervent ambassadors," said Bach.

"For me personally he showed me true friendship and gave me invaluable advice from my very early days as an IOC member. I will always remember this with great gratitude," the President added.

He became IOC Honorary Member in 2010 and sat on the IOC Executive Board three times (1985-1989, 1994-1998 and 1999-2003).

During his three decades working for the Olympic Movement, He was Chairman of the Cultural Commission (1995-1999), Chairman ( 2000-2009) and Honorary Member (2009-2015) of the Commission for Culture and Olympic Education, and Vice-Chairman of the Sport for All Commission (1985-1987).

In 1964, he became the Deputy Secretary General of the Chinese Gymnastics Association, and later served as the Secretary General of the Chinese Table Tennis Association and the head of the secretariat of the All-China Sports Federation.

In 1979, he was promoted to the position of Deputy Secretary General of the all-China Sports Federation and the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC). He served as the Secretary General of COC in 1982-1986, Vice-President in 1986-1989, and President in 1989-1994.