Mario Vazquez Rana, a former prominent member of the International Olympic Committee and 1986 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s prestigious Eagles Award, died on Sunday in Mexico City at the age of 82.

The Mexican Olympic Committee confirmed his death, but gave no further details other than to say he had been battling an illness.

In a statement released to the media, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “He had outstanding merit within the Olympic Movement and we will always remember him as a great Olympic leader. The Olympic flag at the IOC headquarters in Laussane (Switzerland) will be flown at half-mast in his honor.”

A major player in the business and media markets outside of sports administration, he owned United Press International in the late 1980s and headed the largest newspaper company in Mexico, the Organizacion Editorial Mexicana.

But his time spent in the sports realm was his most recognized and respected.

Indeed, few have had the kind of impact on, or time served in, Olympic endeavors. Vazquez Rana, who had been a competitive shooter at national and international levels in the 1960s, spent 40 years as a member of the Mexican Olympic Committee, 27 of those as its president. He was president of the PanAmerican Games Organization Committee in 1975, as well as president of both the Pan American Sports Organization 1975-2012 and the Association of National Olympic Committees 1979-2012.

Furthermore, he was a member of the Executive Board of the IOC 2000-2012. All told, he held positions with the IOC from 1979 through 2012.

His significant efforts in promoting international harmony, peace and goodwill through the effective use of sport earned him the U.S. Sports Academy’s highest honor in 1986.

Mr. Jack Kerwin is the Director of Communications at the United States Sports Academy. He can be reached at

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