The late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. File Photo: Jason Boud
The late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. File Photo: Jason Boud

Olympic Movement mourns Desmond Tutu - the sports lover

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Dec 26, 2021

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Pretoria – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the entire Olympic movement has joined South Africans and people across the world in mourning the death of Archbishop and Peace Noble Laureate Desmond Tutu.

IOC president Thomas Bach said Tutu was a passionate lover of sports, and understood sport’s contribution to peace.

“I got to know Desmond Tutu in 1996 as passionate lover of the Olympic Games and sports. He always emphasized the power of sports to bring people together. In all the meetings I had with him he was always appreciating the great contribution of the Olympic Games to the peace and understanding. It was his fervent wish that he could still see the Olympic Games being celebrated in his beloved South Africa,” he said.

“Tutu was one of the leaders of the candidature of Cape Town for the Olympic Games 2004. He attended numerous editions of the Olympic Games and, as a lover of sport, many sports events in South Africa and across the world.”

Bach recounted that in 2002, Tutu represented the African continent as one of the flag bearers of the Olympic flag in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Salt Lake City 2002.

He took part as well at the flame lighting ceremony for the Olympic Games Athens in 2004 in Ancient Olympia.

Bach added: “Desmond Tutu was a firm believer in the Olympic values and a man full of humanity, humility and with wonderful sense of humor, 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 entire family and his many friends around the globe.”

Earlier on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the Archbishop Emeritus had passed away in Cape Town, aged 90.

“The passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans, who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.

“Desmond Tutu was a patriot without equal; a leader of principle and pragmatism, who gave meaning to the biblical insight that faith without works is dead.”

Ramaphosa expressed his profound sadness on behalf of all South Africans.

Tutu was the last surviving South African laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize.


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