The IOC was greatly saddened to hear the news of the death of the renowned South African human rights advocate and friend of the Olympic Movement, George Bizos. He was 92.
An icon in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, he led the legal team that defended his friend and future President, Nelson Mandela. Greek by birth, Mr Bizos was also a life-long Olympic fan, and even ran with the Olympic torch ahead of the Olympic Games Athens 2004.
During a visit to South Africa in 2013, he personally guided President Bach around the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, which documents in graphic detail the fight against the racist regime.
“This was an experience I shall never forget,” said President Bach. “It was deeply moving and inspiring to hear first-hand from one of those engaged in the struggle. George was a man who fought for justice his whole life and was also a great friend of the Olympic Movement and the values for which it stands. His family and friends, South Africa and the world, have lost a truly great man, a man of personal courage and integrity.”
During the visit to South Africa, President Bach also joined many South African Olympians at a birthday celebration for Mr Bizos, who was a long-term supporter of the Olympic Movement in the country.