The World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe, led the tributes to the former International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge after his death at the age of 79 was confirmed on Sunday.
Rogge, who spent 12 years as IOC president, awarded the 2012 Games to London in 2005 having also competed at three Olympics for Belgium as a sailor in 1968, 1972 and 1976.
“I am beyond sad to hear the news of Jacques passing,” Coe, who led London’s Games bid, wrote on Twitter.
“I have a mountainous gratitude for his part in the seamless delivery of London 2012. No Org Cttee could have asked or received more. He was passionate about sport & all he achieved in sport & beyond was done with common decency, compassion and a level head. We will all miss him.”
Rogge was appointed in 2001 before being succeeded by Thomas Bach in 2013, who said his predecessor’s “joy in sport was infectious”. During his sailing career he won 16 national titles, while he also played rugby for Belgium. He became the IOC’s honorary president after leaving the post in 2013.
“First and foremost, Jacques loved sport and being with athletes – and he transmitted this passion to everyone who knew him. His joy in sport was infectious,” Bach said.
“He was an accomplished president, helping to modernise and transform the IOC. He will be remembered particularly for championing youth sport and for inaugurating the Youth Olympic Games. He was also a fierce proponent of clean sport, and fought tirelessly against the evils of doping.
“Since we were elected as IOC members together we shared a wonderful bond of friendship, and this continued until his last days, when the entire Olympic movement and I could still benefit from his contribution, in particular on the board of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage. The entire Olympic movement will deeply mourn the loss of a great friend and a passionate fan of sport.”