IOC member Zhenliang He, 85

Death of Zhenliang He, IOC Honorary Member

It is with great sadness that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has learnt of the death of Zhenliang He, IOC Honorary Member in the People’s Republic of China, aged 85.

A career politician, Mr He was instrumental in bringing China back into the Olympic Movement. He was elected as an IOC Member in 1981, serving in the role until 2010, when he became IOC Honorary Member. He sat on the IOC Executive Board three times (1985-1989, 1994-1998 and 1999-2003) and served as an IOC Vice-President from 1989 to 1993.

Mr He is credited with helping Beijing win the right to host the 2008 Olympic Games and to open up China to the world.

He was a firm believer in sport’s ability to educate, and long championed the teaching of the Olympic values as well as sport in school curricula.

“Mr He was a man of culture and art. He was a true advocate of the social values of sport and of our Movement and I would like to pay tribute to the passion and energy he deployed over the years to fulfil his mission as an IOC Member in China. He also helped our Movement better understand his country, its people and outstanding culture. The Olympic Movement has lost one of its most fervent ambassadors,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. 

“For me personally he showed me true friendship and gave me invaluable advice from my very early days as an IOC member. I will always remember this with great gratitude,” the President added.

During his three decades working for the Olympic Movement, Mr He was Chairman of the Cultural Commission (1995-1999), Chairman (2000-2009) and then Honorary Member  (2009-2015) of the Commission for Culture and Olympic Education, and Vice-Chairman of the Sport for All Commission (1985-1987). He was also a Member of the following Commissions:

  • Olympic Solidarity (1981-1987)
  • Olympic Movement (1985-1999)
  • Apartheid and Olympism (1989-1992)
  • Council of the Olympic Order (1989-1993)
  • Preparation of the XII Olympic Congress (1990-1993)
  • Study of the Centennial Olympic Congress – Congress of Unity (1994-1996)
  • “IOC 2000” (1999)
  • “IOC 2000” Reform Follow-up (2002)
  • 2009 Congress (2006-2009)

In 1964, he became the Deputy Secretary General of the Chinese Gymnastics Association, and later served as the Secretary General of the Chinese Table Tennis Association and the head of the secretariat of the All-China Sports Federation. In 1979, he was promoted to the position of Deputy Secretary General of the All-China Sports Federation and the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC). He served as the Secretary General of COC between 1982 and 1986, Vice-President between 1986 and 1989, and President between 1989 and 1994.

A keen sportsman, Mr He enjoyed swimming, playing table tennis, tennis, football, basketball and golf.

The IOC expresses its deepest sympathies to Zhenliang He’s family. The IOC President has asked for the Olympic flag to be flown half-mast for three days in tribute to a great Olympic personality.(pr)

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