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AVERY BRUNDAGE: The Man Behind the Mask
William Oscar Johnson
August 04, 1980
Since the Modern Olympic Era began in 1894, six men have served as president of the International Olympic Committee. Demetrius Vikelas of Greece was the first. Ireland's Lord Killanin, whose tenure will end with the conclusion of the Moscow Games, is the most recent. But none of these men wielded more authority, had a greater influence on amateur sport—or embodied so many contradictions—as Avery Brundage of the U.S., who died in 1975 at the age of 87.
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August 04, 1980

Avery Brundage: The Man Behind The Mask

Since the Modern Olympic Era began in 1894, six men have served as president of the International Olympic Committee. Demetrius Vikelas of Greece was the first. Ireland's Lord Killanin, whose tenure will end with the conclusion of the Moscow Games, is the most recent. But none of these men wielded more authority, had a greater influence on amateur sport—or embodied so many contradictions—as Avery Brundage of the U.S., who died in 1975 at the age of 87.

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In his will Brundage left $6,000 a month for life to both Princess Mariann and Ruegsegger. He bequeathed his Olympic papers, medals and memorabilia to the University of Illinois, $100,000 to the Chicago Art Institute and, as noted, his art collection to the city and county of San Francisco. He left not a cent to his two sons or to their mother.

Brundage once said, "When I'm gone, there's nobody rich enough, thick-skinned enough and smart enough to take my place, and the Games will be in tremendous trouble." Now he's gone. The Games are indeed in trouble, but it is doubtful that a man with the dim and shifting values of Avery Brundage could have done much to help them.

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