Killanin, Michael Morris, 3rd Baron

Killanin, Michael Morris, 3rd Baron
▪ 2000

      British-born Irish journalist, film producer, author, and sports administrator (b. July 30, 1914, London, Eng.—d. April 25, 1999, Dublin, Ire.), served as president (1972–80) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during a turbulent period marked by boycotts and international disputes. He inherited the title of Baron Killanin when his uncle died in 1927, and he attended the Sorbonne (1932) in Paris and Magdalene College, Cambridge (B.A., 1935). After graduation he worked as a journalist for such newspapers as the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, and the Sunday Dispatch. During World War II he volunteered for military service, and he later (1945) was made an M.B.E. for the part he played in the Normandy Invasion. In 1945 he returned to Ireland and began producing films, most notably The Quiet Man (1952). Known for his humour and diplomacy, Lord Killanin was named president of the Olympic council of Ireland in 1950 and two years later joined the IOC. After serving as the committee's vice president (1968–72), he succeeded Avery Brundage as president in 1972, just days after terrorists had killed members of the Israeli team at the Munich (Ger.) Games. Much of his tenure was spent trying to keep the Olympics free from international politics, and his refusal to move the site of the 1980 Games following the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan resulted in some 60 countries' boycotting the events in Moscow. Possibly his greatest triumph was negotiating the return of China to Olympic competition. He also was influential in easing the strict amateur guidelines set by Brundage. Lord Killanin, who was succeeded by Juan Antonio Samaranch, was made honorary life president of the IOC in 1980. The author of several books, including Four Days (1938) and My Ireland (1987), Lord Killanin published his autobiography, My Olympic Years, in 1983.

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▪ Irish author
born July 30, 1914, London, Eng.
died April 25, 1999, Dublin, Ire.

      Irish author and businessman who in 1972 succeeded Avery Brundage (Brundage, Avery) as president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), after having served as IOC vice president since 1968.

      Morris succeeded his uncle to the title of Baron Killanin in 1927. After attending the Sorbonne (1932) in Paris and Magdalene College in Cambridge (B.A., 1935), Lord Killanin was a war correspondent for the London Daily Express, Daily Mail, and Sunday Dispatch, covering the Sino-Japanese War and writing a political column. When World War II broke out he joined the King's Royal Rifle Corps; he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his part in the invasion of Normandy. Lord Killanin served on the board of directors for numerous British corporations. He also produced a number of successful motion pictures (e.g., The Rising of the Moon, 1957; The Playboy of the Western World, 1962) and wrote and edited several books, including Four Days (1938), The Olympic Games (1976), and My Olympic Years (1983).

      His association with the Olympic Games was extensive. Lord Killanin was elected president of the Olympic Committee of Ireland in 1950, a representative from Ireland to the IOC in 1952, and an IOC executive board member in 1967. After Brundage retired, Killanin faced the increasingly difficult job of keeping the Olympic Games as free from politics and international strain as possible. He tried to maintain a more flexible attitude about the definition of amateur athletics than that advocated by Brundage. In 1980 he was made honorary life president of the IOC.

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Universalium. 2010.

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