It is with great sorrow that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has learnt of the death of IOC Honorary Member HM King Constantine at the age of 82.
An Olympic sailing champion in the Dragon class at the Games of the XVII Olympiad Rome 1960, HM King Constantine served the Olympic Movement as an IOC Member in Greece from 1963 to 1974, after which he was elected as an IOC Honorary Member.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “In King Constantine we have lost a great friend of sport. He was a fellow Olympic Champion and, whenever we met, we shared our passion about sport and discussed our love of Olympism and the life of an athlete. He was always interested in the development of the Olympic Movement, and our conversations were very enriching. I will greatly miss these always friendly meetings. Our thoughts are with Queen Anne-Marie and with the entire family.”
Over several decades, HM King Constantine served the world of sport as President then Honorary President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee; Honorary President of the Royal Greek Yachting Association; Honorary President of World Sailing; and patron of several sailing clubs and of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM). He was also the Honorary President of the International Olympic Academy right from its foundation.
Born in Athens in 1940, the then-crown prince was first drawn to equestrian sport, before his father introduced him to sailing. At the age of 20, along with his crew, he won an Olympic gold medal in sailing at the Olympic Games Rome 1960. It was the first Greek Olympic gold medal after almost 50 years. For this feat, he was named “Greek Athlete of the Year” along with his crew, and celebrated with a big parade with more than a million people on the streets of Athens upon his return from Rome. He was also the Greek flagbearer at these Games, leading the Greek team at the Opening Ceremony.
In addition to being an outstanding sailor and horseman, he was also an excellent shooter, and enjoyed team sports such as basketball and hockey.
HM King Constantine was also the founder of the Hellenic College of London (Great Britain) and of “Round Square”, a worldwide network of innovative schools in 40 countries across five continents.