Former head of global athletics Lamine Diack dies at 88 — familySaturday, December 04, 2021
DAKAR, Senegal (AFP) — The former head of global athletics Lamine Diack, who presided over the sport from 1999 to 2015 but was later convicted for corruption, has died aged 88, his family told AFP .
The Senegalese was head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), now renamed World Athletics, the world governing body of track and field and the cornerstone of Olympic sport.
Diack, who was also a powerful figure at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was found guilty of corruption by a French court in 2020 for covering up Russian doping cases in exchange for millions of dollars in bribes.
He was sentenced to four years in prison, of which two were suspended, and fined 500,000 euros (US$560,000).
World Athletics issued a terse statement late yesterday.
“Following confirmation from the Confederation of African Athletics we note the death of Lamine Diack, president of the IAAF from 1999 to 2015.”
His son Papa Massata Diack, a former marketing executive for the IAAF, was tried in absentia because Senegal refused to extradite him. He was sentenced to five years in prison, fined one million euros and banned from all sport for 10 years.
Diack was replaced by Britain's Sebastian Coe in August 2015 as head of world athletics. The disgraced Senegalese had resigned from the IOC in the same year.
Coe had been one of Diack's vice-presidents at the then-IAAF between 2011 and 2014.
Born in Dakar on June 7, 1933, Diack started his sporting career as a long jumper, winning the French athletics championships title in 1958. A knee injury prevented him from competing in the 1960 Olympics, however.
He was also a footballer and was technical director of Senegal's national team from 1966 to 1969.
Diack also became head of Senegal's Olympic Committee, mayor of Dakar, a lawmaker and was head of the West African country's national water company before becoming the first non-European to take over as head of the IAAF following the sudden death of its previous president, Primo Nebiolo.
The African power broker said he had played a key role in globalising athletics and his time at the top certainly coincided with a huge boom in its revenues.
Diack was in charge as the sport grew and developed beyond its European and North American core.
He oversaw its move from amateur to professional status, ensured complete equality in events and prize money for men and women, and established international competition circuits for athletes in all the disciplines.