It is with deep sorrow that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) learns of the death of IOC Honorary Member Niels Holst-Sørensen, who has passed away at the age of 100. His death marks the end of an era in the world of sports, and for the Danish sporting community.
Mr Holst-Sørensen’s life was dedicated to the pursuit of sporting excellence, with significant contributions to both the Danish and international sports communities.
“Niels Holst-Sørensen was a distinguished leader, an accomplished athlete, and a dedicated sports administrator. A very straightforward person, he contributed immensely as an IOC Member, and as a member of multiple IOC commissions,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.
“He leaves behind a legacy that will forever be cherished by the international sports community.”
“On a personal note, Niels Holst-Sørensen was someone who helped and supported me from the very beginning of my IOC membership. We enjoyed a deep friendship despite some of the hard-fought battles we had playing on the tennis courts together.”
Born on 19 December 1922, Mr Holst-Sørensen’s journey in the world of sport began at a young age. He practised and excelled at various sports, including track and field, military sports, tennis, skiing, golf and orienteering. He clinched a remarkable 18 Danish championship titles in track and field, and won a gold medal in the 400m and a silver medal in the 800m at the European Championships in Oslo in 1946. He also represented Denmark with pride at the Olympic Games London 1948, where he finished 8th in the final of the 800m.
Mr Holst-Sørensen was a Member of the IOC from 1977 to 2002, when he became an Honorary Member. He also served as Chairman of the Study Commission for the Preparation of the Olympic Games in 1998 (1989-1990) and as a member of the following Commissions: Eligibility (1980-1995), Study and Evaluation for the Preparation of the Olympic Games (1984-1988), Marketing (1989-2001), Coordination for the Olympic Winter Games Albertville 1992 (1989-1992), Lillehammer 1994 (1989-1994), Nagano 1998 (1992-1998) and Salt Lake City 2002 (1996-2002).
He also served as President of the National Olympic Committee of Denmark from 1981 till 1984 and as a member of the board of the Danish Military Sports Association.
Mr Holst-Sørensen’s educational journey led him to the Royal Danish Military Academy, where he honed his leadership skills and embarked on a career of service to his country. He initially served as a First Lieutenant in the Royal Danish Army in 1946, later transferring to the Royal Danish Air Force in 1950 where he rose to the rank of Major-General and Commander-in-Chief in 1970.
The IOC extends its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr Niels Holst-Sørensen during this difficult time. His memory will forever be cherished in the annals of Olympic history. As a mark of respect, the Olympic flag will be flown at half-mast at Olympic House in Lausanne for three days.
Credit: International Olympic Committee