It is with deep sorrow that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has learnt of the death of IOC Honorary Member Gian-Franco Kasper, at the age of 77. He was an IOC Member from 2000 until 2018, when he was elected as an IOC Honorary Member and received the Olympic Order.
Mr Kasper was a long-standing President of the International Ski Federation (FIS), and had recently stepped down from the position after 23 years and six terms of office.
His period at the helm of the organisation included five Olympic Winter Games: Salt Lake City 2002, Turin 2006, Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: "For the entire Olympic Movement and for me, Gian-Franco Kasper was the personification of modern ski sport. His achievements go far beyond his own sport and his own Federation. With all the reforms and adaptations in the past years under his leadership, he also changed the Olympic Winter Games. In all of this, he was always authentic. Nothing is more authentic than success, and the Olympic Movement has greatly benefited from Gian-Franco Kasper’s success."
The Swiss national had a competitive sporting career in alpine and cross-country skiing, skeleton, bobsleigh, equestrian and water skiing, having also practised golf. With a degree in Psychology, Philosophy and Journalism from the University of Zurich, he contributed to various newspapers and became editor of the St Moritz Kurier in Switzerland, in 1969. His involvement with the St Moritz tourist office led him to Canada to manage the Swiss National Tourist Office in Montreal.
He learned his trade in sports administration with his involvement in the organisation of several FIS World Cups and the FIS Alpine World Championships in St Moritz in 1974, for which he was the head of publicity, press and public relations. In addition, he also worked at a bobsleigh World Championship, as well as sailing and equestrian European Championships.
In 1975, FIS President Marc Hodler invited Mr Kasper to be the Secretary General of the Federation, a position he held until taking over as President in May 1998. In this capacity, he was elected President of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (2000 to 2002, then 2014 to 2020) after serving as Secretary General for the period during which he held the same position at the FIS. He was also a Council Member of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) from 1986 to 2015, when he became a Senior Vice-President, and he was a GAISF representative on the Foundation Board and the Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
During his term as an IOC Member, Mr Kasper served on the IOC Executive Board and as Vice-President of Olympic Channel Services SA, Switzerland. He was also on the Coordination Commissions for all the Olympic Winter Games that took place during his FIS Presidency, plus the upcoming Beijing 2022 Games, and on the Future Host Commission tasked with exploring, creating and overseeing interest in future Olympic Winter Games, not to mention the Coordination Commissions for the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games Innsbruck 2012, which he chaired, and the second edition, Lillehammer 2016. His participation in other IOC commissions included the Radio and Television Commission and the Olympic Channel Commission.
The IOC expresses its deepest sympathies to Gian-Franco Kasper’s family. As a mark of respect, the Olympic flag will be flown at half-mast at Olympic House in Lausanne.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit, civil, non-governmental, international organisation made up of volunteers which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.4 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
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