July 22, 2019
Latest News

IOC celebrates 125th anniversary with new Olympic headquarters in Lausanne

By Antonio Broto

Lausanne, Switzerland, Jun 23 (efe-epa).- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) inaugurated its new headquarters Sunday in the Swiss city of Lausanne, marking the organization's 125th anniversary.

Olympic House, designed by Danish architecture studio 3XN and overlooking Lake Geneva, will bring all IOC employees under one roof. Previously, IOC staff worked at four locations in Lausanne.

The energy-saving building has won several awards for sustainability.

IOC president Thomas Bach stressed that the new headquarters reflected the Olympics' mission and values that emerged on June 23, 1894, when Pierre de Coubertin founded the organization at the Sorbonne in Paris to revive the ancient Greek Olympics.

The new building has an olive tree on display as a nod to Greece, as well as a central staircase depicting the five intertwined Olympic rings.

It took three years of work to complete construction of Olympic House, which cost approximately $150 million.

"It is a necessary step in the evolution of our organization," IOC vice president Juan Antonio Samaranch Salisachs told EFE, stressing that the new building was energy efficient.

Samaranch Salisachs, son of Juan Antonio Samaranch, who served as the seventh IOC president from 1980 to 2001, said the new headquarters did not affect the facilities the IOC has in Madrid, where the broadcasting services of the Olympics Games are operated.

Olympic House's inauguration marks the 125th anniversary of one of the oldest international organizations, one that has seen its share of ups and downs over the years.

Now, the IOC is working to reduce the huge expenses countries have to bear to host the Olympics.

"The Olympic ideals of peace are still alive and are more necessary than ever and few institutions do as much for them as the world of sport," Samaranch Salisachs said.

Guests at the ceremony included Romanian gymnastics legend Nadia Comaneci, Kenyan running great Kip Keino, Danish track star Wilson Kipketer and Moroccan runner Hicham al-Guerrouj.

There was also a large representation of Latin American athletes, such as retired Argentine tennis player and silver medalist Gabriela Sabatini, her countrywoman and four-time Olympic hockey medalist Luciana Aymar and Venezuelan BMX racer and bronze medalist Stefany Hernandez.

"It is a dream to be here at this inauguration. It is very important that there is a place like this where everyone feels part of the Olympic family," retired Chilean tennis player and Olympic medalist Fernando Gonzalez told EFE.

Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco was also among those who attended the opening of Olympic House.

abc/sm/sdh/hv

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