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Sportcal’s 20 Years of Sport: Samaranch the Most Influential

Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former International Olympic Committee president who died last year, was the most influential sports executive of the last 20 years, according to the results of Sportcal’s poll 20 Years of Sport: Who Was the Most Influential?

The results of the poll were unveiled at yesterday’s 20 Years of Sport event held by Sportcal at the offices of Clifford Chance in London, where almost 200 delegates came together to reflect on the last 20 years of sport and discuss and debate what the next 20 years might look like.

Voters were asked to give their top three nominations, in order of merit, along with their reasons for choosing them. Three points were awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote. Samaranch emerged victorious with 101 points to McCormack’s 82 points, albeit Samaranch attracted just two more first-place votes than McCormack.

It is worth remarking that five of the top 10 (Samaranch, Blatter, Ecclestone, Rogge and Johansson) were primarily involved in sport as organisers and officials, three (Murdoch, Bodenheimer and Sawhney) as broadcasters and two (McCormack and Nally) in an agency capacity.

Comments on Samaranch’s achievements as a transformative leader of the IOC were typified by the International Weightlifting Federation’s Aniko Nemeth-Mora, who wrote: “A charismatic and genial leader, under whose leadership the IOC grew into by far the world’s most influential and powerful sports organisation and the Olympic Games the No.1 event (not only in sports); a leader of fantastic diplomatic skills.”