ELECTED MEMBERS
   
Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted
ARTUR TAKAC

Sport: Official/Administrator
Inducted:
1989
Country:
Hungary (Yugoslavia)
Born: June 9, 1918, in Varazdin, Hungary (Yugoslavia)
Died: January, 2004

With the exception of the 1956 Olympics, Artur Takac served in key positions for every Olympiad from 1948 through 1984—as a national leader, delegation secretary, or technical program advisor to the Organizing Committee of the Games.

A prisoner of war (POW) in Italy during World War II, Takac was liberated in 1943 after the fall of Mussolini. But because the German army occupied Yugoslavia, his return home was stalled in Switzerland, where he was assigned to one of the many Swiss prisoner of war internment camps. Takac was one of 10 men in his camp selected by the Red Cross to join other
POWs in a physical training rehabilitation program at ausanne’s
Olympic Institute. His talents and enthusiasm were noticed by Institute director Dr. Francis Messerli, who made the Yugoslav his assistant.

Messerli, along with Takac and several other POWs, organized the 1944 Mini-Olympic Games for escaped Yugoslav, American, English, Greek, Italian, and French prisoners detained in Switzerland. Soon after, although he could have remained safely in neutral Lausanne for the balance of the war, Takac secreted himself into France to join the army of liberation.

Returning to his homeland in postwar 1945, Takac became secretary general of the Yugoslavian Athletics Federation and founded the Partisans Sports Club in Belgrade, which has since become one of Europe’s biggest sports associations. Three summers later, he was head of the Yugoslav athletics (track and field) team for the 1948 Olympic Games in London.

Following the 1964 Olympics, Takac was appointed by IOC president Avery Brundage to assist technical development of the competition program for the 1968 Games in Mexico City. He next was named technical director of the 1972 Olympics, then to a similar position for the 1976 Games in Montreal. It was during these assignments that he set out to update some of the rules of the Olympic charter and policies of the original IOC, specifically in matters affecting the awarding of medals, the balance between sports and events, and the participation of women. In women’s competitions alone, Takac’s input resulted in the addition of basketball, rowing, handball, the marathon, cycling road races, shooting, and a broad increase in events in other sports. He also was an early and active advocate favoring drug and gender testing for athletes.

In 1978, when the 1984 Winter Olympics was assigned to the city of Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, Takac, who had also taken on the position of vice president of the 8th Mediterranean Games Organizing Committee, was named director of operations. Included in his portfolio was the organization of sports, electronic technology, medical services, and the opening
and closing ceremonies.

After the success of Sarajevo, IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded Artur Takac the Olympic Order and appointed him his personal advisor for matters of organization of the Olympic Games. Takac’s memoirs, Sixty Olympic Years, was published in 1998.
 
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