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Death of IOC Honorary Member Ottavio Cinquanta

With great sorrow, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has learnt of the death of IOC Honorary Member Ottavio Cinquanta, at the age of 83

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He was elected as an IOC member in 1996. Two years before, in 1994, he was elected President of the International Skating Union (ISU), a position he held until 2016, when his IOC membership also ended. The same year, the IOC Session elected him as an IOC Honorary Member and the ISU Congress acclaimed him as ISU Honorary President.

The IOC Session also recognised Mr Cinquanta’s outstanding services and distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement by awarding him the Olympic Order, its highest distinction.

IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Ottavio Cinquanta led the ISU with great dedication and deep knowledge about all aspects of all the disciplines of his Federation. This made him a highly respected leader, not only within the ISU but also among all the Winter Sports Federations. To me, he was an always reliable friend, whose advice was always honest. Sometimes, Ottavio was also thinking outside the box, which gave rise to interesting but always amicable discussions.”

With 22 years at the helm of the ISU, Mr Cinquanta was the second-longest-serving ISU President, and was responsible for several innovations during his presidency. These included the introduction of short track into the Olympic programme, the creation of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in 1995 and the reform of the figure skating scoring system in 2004.

A speed skater in his youth, when he practised ice hockey and athletics too, Mr Cinquanta was also a referee at international competitions, World Championships and Olympic Winter Games. A background in business administration led him to occupy management positions in the finance and chemical industries throughout his professional career.

Additionally, he served in various official functions at the Italian Ice Sports Federation and the ISU, in the sections for Short Track and Speed Skating. Within the Italian Federation, he was Chairman of the Technical Committee (1973-1980) and then Vice-President (1984-1988).

Upon becoming a member of the ISU in 1975, he also joined its Short Track Technical Committee, which he chaired from 1984 to 1992. In this position, he was instrumental in the development of the discipline and key to its inclusion in the Olympic programme. Short track speed skating featured as a demonstration sport at the Olympic Winter Games Calgary 1988, and was then included in the official programme at Albertville 1992. In 1992, he was elected as Vice-President of the ISU, and became its President two years later.

During his IOC membership, Mr Cinquanta served as a member of the IOC Executive Board as the representative of the Winter International Federations (2000-2008), and sat on several IOC Commissions: Olympic Movement (1994-1999); Olympic Solidarity (1994-2001); Coordination for the XIX Olympic Winter Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City (1996-2002); “IOC 2000” (Executive Committee, 1999); Marketing (2002-2022); TV Rights and New Media (2002-2015); “IOC 2000” Reform Follow-up (2002); Coordination for the XXI Olympic Winter Games in 2010 in Vancouver (2003-2010); Coordination for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2014 in Sochi (2007-2014); Coordination of the 1st  Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012 in Innsbruck (2009-2012); and Coordination of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in 2018 in PyeongChang (2011-2018).

The IOC expresses its deepest sympathies to Ottavio Cinquanta’s family. As a mark of respect, the Olympic flag will be flown at half-mast at Olympic House in Lausanne for three days.