IOC President Thomas Bach said: “I got to know Desmond Tutu in 1996 as a passionate lover of the Olympic Games and sport. He always emphasised the power of sport to bring people together. In all the meetings I had with him, he always appreciated the great contribution of the Olympic Games to peace and understanding. It was his fervent wish that he could see the Olympic Games being celebrated in his beloved South Africa.”
Tutu was one of the leaders of the candidature of Cape Town for the 2004 Olympic Games. He attended numerous editions of the Olympic Games and, as a lover of sport, many sports events in South Africa and across the world. In 2002, he represented the African continent as one of the bearers of the Olympic flag in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Salt Lake City 2002. He also took part in the flame-lighting ceremony for the Olympic Games Athens 2004 in Ancient Olympia.
Bach added: “Desmond Tutu was a firm believer in the Olympic values and a man full of humanity and humility, and had a wonderful sense of humour, which made every conversation with him not only inspiring, but also pleasant and unforgettable.”
The IOC and the entire Olympic Movement will always honour his memory. Our thoughts are with his wife, his family and his many friends around the globe.