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European RoyalsThe Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander leads royal tributes to former IOC President

willem-alexander
© RVD – Paul Tolenaar.

King Willem-Alexander paid tribute to late International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge over the weekend, calling him an “unforgettable figurehead.” The death of Jacques Rogge was announced by International Olympic Committee yesterday.

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The King shared his memories of Rogge, writing: “With the death of Jacques Rogge, the Olympic community has lost an unforgettable figurehead. For twelve years, he led the IOC with great determination and conviviality. His love of sport, respect for athletes and passionate commitment to fair play kept the Olympic flame alight, even under difficult circumstances. He gave young people a full and valued place in the Olympic movement. I look back with gratitude and fondness on our many meetings, and I–like many others–cherished his friendship.”

Rogge was a Belgian-born athlete who competed at the Olympic Games in 1968, 1972 and 1976. He became President of the IOC in 2001 and held the position until 2013.

Grand Duke Henri also paid tribute to Rogge, releasing a statement on the Grand Ducal Court’s website that reads: “It is with great emotion that I learn of the passing of Count Jacques Rogge, former President of the International Olympic Committee… As a member of the organization, I will remember the commitment of a genuine sports enthusiast who worked tirelessly to make the Olympic values shine.

“All my heartfelt thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”

Rogge’s successor, Thomas Bach, said in a statement released by the IOC that: “First and foremost, Jacques loved sport and being with athletes – and he transmitted this passion to everyone who knew him.  His joy in sport was infectious.”

Bach said that Rogge worked to “modernize and transform the IOC” and that he will be remembered for “championing youth sport and for inaugurating the Youth Olympic Games” as well as being a “fierce proponent of clean sport” as someone who “fought tirelessly against the evils of doping.”

“The entire Olympic Movement will deeply mourn the loss of a great friend and a passionate fan of sport,” Bach said.

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.