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Sports world loses a great friend

15 October 2018


It is with the greatest of sadness and deep sorrow that FISU learned of the passing of Patrick Baumann over the weekend. As an IOC Member, FIBA Secretary General and GAISF President, Mr. Baumann was a well-regarded figure in world sport, an esteemed friend of FISU and the university sports movement.

BUENOS AIRES — When Patrick Baumann passed away due to a heart attack at the Youth Olympic Games on Sunday, the sports world lost a great friend.


Mr. Baumann was one of the most influential figures in world sport— and a lynchpin within the Olympic Movement. The 51-year old Swiss was a champion of university sports who contributed greatly to promoting 3×3 Basketball on the university campus.


A former player, coach and referee, Mr. Baumann lived a life dedicated to the sports community. A passionate and sympathetic leader, he built the strongest of bonds through sport. In life, Mr. Baumann fostered the deepest of friendships.


For FISU Secretary General Eric Saintrond, the loss of his friend hit hard. The careers of the two Secretary Generals came together first in 1995 when then 28 year old Mr. Baumann was appointed FIBA Deputy Secretary General.


“As two young sports leaders, I felt a certain kinship with Patrick early on that’s carried on throughout our friendship,” Mr. Saintrond said. “Patrick was one who would pick up the phone and give you call. He spoke with a frankness and honesty I have always admired.”


Mr. Baumann was at a sport climbing event, where he had collapsed and was then rushed to a hospital. Despite receiving immediate medical attention, Mr. Baumann “unexpectedly succumbed to a heart attack,” FIBA said Sunday in a statement, adding, “Basketball lost a leader, an advocate and a friend and our thoughts are with Patrick’s wife and two children at this tragic time.”


Within the world of international sports, Mr. Baumann was a paragon of good governance. He also championed sports development — for the benefit of elite athletes and citizens alike.


“Patrick was a consensus-builder,” Mr. Saintrond recalled. “ He had a vision — and not just for sport in of itself, but for how sport fit within a global context. As a leader, he sought out the voices of everyone. His honesty and transparency helped breathe new life into sports.”


Mr. Baumann was also a member of the Association of Summer Olympic Federations (ASOIF) council, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) executive committee, and International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS).


The IOC held an emotional memorial service in the Youth Olympic Village today. “It is a sad day for all of world sport,” IOC President Thomas Bach said during the service. “It is hard to believe that Patrick, who was so full of life, is suddenly and unexpectedly taken from our midst.


“We are all still in shock.”


In Buenos Aires and Lausanne, flags fly at half-mast.


“Patrick was a good friend to FISU,” FISU President Oleg Matytsin said. “On a personal note, Eric Saintrond and I very much appreciated his company at the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade and events organised by GAISF. SportAccord was perhaps the best example, where Patrick was in his element among friends and colleagues from every imaginable sport and country.


“On behalf of the entire FISU Family, I would like to express our deepest condolences to his family, colleagues and friends,” FISU President Oleg Matytsin said. “Patrick is very much missed, but he remains in our hearts.


“Patrick made the greatest possible contribution to the Olympic Movement and FISU is honoured to be just one part of the way in which his legacy will live on,” Mr. Matytsin added. “Patrick’s passion for 3×3 Basketball saw him lead its development all the way to Olympic inclusion.


“We will take the time to celebrate his wonderful gifts to sport next month at the finals of the FISU 3×3 World University League, FISU’s first intra-university tournament, and one that Patrick helped to create. But for now, we can only extend our deepest condolences to Patrick’s family, friends, colleagues and the whole Olympic Movement.”


Hommage à mon cher ami

par Eric Saintrond


Un nuage noir a envahi le ciel de Mies


Et soudain une pluie lourde et glaciale a emporté vers les eaux du lac


Le souvenir d’un ami, d’un compagnon de voyage


Comme il ne savait ni nager, ni ramper


Les flots l’ont englouti sans aucune pudeur


Il ne nageait, ni rampait, mais il courait quand il le fallait, là où le devoir l’appelait et là où personne ne voulait se risquer


Un sourire simple dépourvu de grimage


Un coeur vrai comme on n’en croise que trop rarement


Oui, tu es parti par l’arrière de la scène, sans un bruit comme pour ne pas déranger


Tu es parti, oui, mais tu restes pour toujours présent au fond de notre coeur, au plus profond de mon coeur


Ton empreinte a marqué pour toujours des générations de dirigeants du sport mondial