Seoul Peace Prize

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Ever since he was appointed as IOC member in 1966, Juan Antonio Samaranch, who became Vice-president of the IOC and finally President from 1980, has made a great contribution to fostering an atmosphere of true harmony, mutual understanding and peace all over the world through the promulgation of the Olympic ideal.

President Samaranch firmly believes that the Olympic games can help greatly to promote international understanding and rid the world of political, ideological and religious distrust and hostility. He has endeavored to strengthen the solidarity among NOCs. Owing to his efforts, the number of IOC member NOCs has increased from 143 to 167 during his presidency. This remarkable increase resulted from the efforts of President Samaranch himself, who visited during the past decade nearly all NOCs in the capacity of IOC president to expand mutual exchanges and cooperative relations among NOCs.

President Samaranch faced with the threat of a boycott of the Games of the XXIVth Olympiad in Seoul following two politically tainted Games, responded with firm determination and countries which has no diplomatic ties with Korea to participate in the Seoul Games, including East-block nations. Thus, he has contributed greatly to the maintenance of world peace by ensuring that East and West could meet in the spirit of reconciliation to fairly compete shoulder to shoulder in Seoul.

Especially since the IOC designated Seoul as the host city of the XXIVth Olypiad, the threat of a boycott by communist countries, as well as terrorist threats and actions such as the downing of a Korean Air jumbo jet, all put Korea under stress, President Samaranch handled these situations with extraordinary good will, and even though the demand of the Olympic Committee of the Games was in contradiction with the Olympic Charter, he enabled a dialogue between the National Olympic Committees of both Koreas.

Thanks to President Samaranch, the Olympic Movement has increased its financial resources through the Olympic Solidarity Fund and ensured the fair and efficient distribution of those resources for the promotion of Olympism and its ideals. This is clearly seen in his having extended $10 million per year for the promotion of sports in less-developed countries.

President Samaranch has also created a special program to promote women's participation in the Olympic Movement. It was during his presidency that a woman came to be admitted to the IOC.

During President Samaranch's term of office, the IOC has been firmly resolved in preventing athletes from damaging themselves physically through drug use, and in safeguarding the spirit of sports. The IOC's struggle against doping has already had many concrete results. There was no hesitation in sanctioning even the most famous athletes when there was evidence of doping.

President Samaranch has confirmed the IOC's opposition to racial discrimination and has done much in lending an ear to the concerns and opinions of the African NOC's concerning apartheid in South Africa, as manifest in the important mediating role played by the "Apartheid and Olympism" commission created several years ago.

To conclude, in recognition of these and other endeavors undertaken by him during his term of office, President Samaranch, a man embodying all the ideals the Seoul Peace Prize strives to encourage, has been selected as its first recipient.