BUENOS AIRES: Patrick Baumann, tipped as a possible future president of the International Olympic Committee, has died after an apparent heart attack aged 51.
The Swiss sports administrator was secretary-general of the international basketball federation FIBA and a member of the IOC. He died in Buenos Aires where he was attending the Youth Olympic Games.
Baumann had become a member of the IOC in 2007 and earned particular praise for his leadership of the evaluation commission for the 2024 Olympics Games which led to a historic double of Paris as well as Los Angeles for 2028. He was also president of GAISF, the Global Association of International Sports Federations, which he had rescued from its disastrous SportAccord ‘adventure’.
An IOC statement said: “It is with great sorrow and shock that the International Olympic Committee has learned the death of Mr Patrick Baumann, IOC member in Switzerland, in Buenos Aires. Patrick Baumann was a central figure of the Olympic movement.”
IOC president Thomas Bach said: “We can hardly believe this terrible news. Particularly since, even today, we have seen him working hard, as we always knew him, for the sport he loved. We lose a young and sympathetic leader full of hope who was standing for the future of sport. Our thoughts are with his wife, his children and his family.”
‘Tireless work ethic’
Other tributes from across world sport were led by FIBA president Horacio Muratore who hailed Baumann’s “unwavering commitment, tireless work ethic and pure passion for basketball.”
The IOC has asked the Olympic flag to be flown at half-mast at the IOC headquarters and at the Youth Olympic Games for three days. The IOC will also hold a memorial inside the Youth Olympic Village.
Baumann was a former player, coach and referee. He joined FIBA in 1994 as a lawyer and served as FIBA deputy secretary general from 1995-2002 before he was unanimously appointed by the FIBA as secretary-general in 2002.