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Goodbye to Flor Isava, indispensable pioneer of Olympism

Flor Isava junto al presidente de APA, Marcos Oviedo

The first woman in history who was part of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee, the Venezuelan Flor Isava Fonseca, died in Caracas this Saturday at the age of 99, leaving behind a legacy of immense contributions to world Olympism.

In 1981, Isava was, along with the Finnish Pirjo Häggman, one of the first two women to be elected IOC members, but the European had to resign years later, when she was involved in the scandal of the election of Salt Lake City as the host venue of the Winter Olympic Games in 2002.

In 1990 she was elected to serve on the Executive Committee, where she remained until 1994. She unsuccessfully ran for a vice-presidency, but was appointed an honorary IOC member, a position she held until the time of her death.

“She was a very special, close friend. We called each other daily to talk about sport,” recalled the president of the Pan American Athletics Association, also Venezuelan Marcos Oviedo, who considered the historic leader as a mentor. “At 99 she had a great memory, always active and aware of the world of Olympic sport.”

Isava practiced horse riding, a discipline in which she was three times national champion and founder of the Venezuelan Federation of Equestrian Sports, swimming, tennis and golf. She joined the board of directors of the Venezuelan Olympic Committee in 1965 and chaired a foundation with her name that brought the sport to the poorest sectors of Venezuela, including prisons.

APA, its board of directors and Pan American athletics in general join the mourning that grips the Venezuelan Olympic family and the world for this irreparable loss, and exalts the gigantic legacy of Flor Isava Fonseca.

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