The first ever Samaranch Memorial was inaugurated on 21 April in Tianjin (People’s Republic of China) in the presence of IOC President Jacques Rogge, the Samaranch family, his son Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr, also an IOC Executive Board (EB) member and her daughter Maria Teresa Samaranch as well as many IOC members who came to pay tribute to the late IOC President, three years to the day after he passed away.
This project brings to life the wish of IOC EB member and renowned architect Ching-kuo Wu, to whom Samaranch donated his lifelong Olympic collections, to share this Olympic treasure with the entire world through the Memorial designed by the Holm Architecture Office and Archiland Beijing.
“We all know what we owe to Juan Antonio Samaranch” said President Rogge in his inaugurating speech. “If our Movement is today strong and united, it is thanks to his visionary qualities and extraordinary talent. His knowledge of the world of sport and his deep attachment to the Olympic Movement and values were unquestionable. Juan Antonio Samaranch left us a great legacy that we must conserve and perpetuate. And this Memorial is the greatest homage that we can pay to him. ”
Some facts and figures
The Memorial will display more than 16,000 items from Samaranch’s personal collection – books, stamps, souvenirs, paintings, letters, photographs and personal items, as well as a precious collection of texts on Olympic-related themes.
The Memorial and the Olympic Sculpture Park covers an area of about 144,000 square metres, with a construction area of about 19,000 square metres. The main building consists of the overlapping of three circular figures, one in the shape of the number “8” to commemorate the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing; the second in the shape of the letter “S”, representing the first letter of the name “Samaranch”; and the third one symbolising the infinite and the eternal. The design of the rings features a circular ramp connecting the two buildings and the three levels for a total of five circles.
The main building is surrounded by the Olympic Sculpture Park where visitors will discover the works of renowned sculptors. Not far from there rises an 89-foot fountain representing Samaranch’s 89 years of life.