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Long-serving sports official Kocijančič dies aged 78

Ljubljana, 1 June - Janez Kocijančič, the long-serving Slovenian sports official who most recently served as the head of the European Olympic Committees, has died at the age of 78, the Slovenian Olympic Committee (OKS) said on Monday.

Former Slovenian Olympic Committee president Janez Kocijančič
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Kocijančič, who was also active in politics and business, was the president of the OKS between 1991 and 2014, and headed the European Olympic Committees since 2017.

Born in 1941, he graduated in law in 1965 and earned a master's and a doctoral degree in the same field, while he also entered politics at a young age, presiding the League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia in 1968-1971.

He was a minister in the government of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, and was removed from politics in Yugoslavia after the fall of the Stane Kavčič government in 1973.

Since then, he was active in business, including as the chief executive of the flag carrier Adria Airways between 1982 and 1993.

Kocijančič returned to politics in the late 1980s, and in 1993, two years after Slovenia gained independence, he became a member of the National Assembly.

He was also active in sports all that time, first as the head of the Ski Association of Slovenia (1974-1984). In 1991, he was elected the first president of the OKS and served at the post for more than 23 years.

Since 2005, he was also a member of the executive committee of the European Olympic Committees, becoming the organisation's vice president in 2013 and its president in 2017.

He is the recipient of the Bloudek Award (1985), Slovenia's most prestigious sports accolade, and of the Norwegian King Olav Trophy (2014) for his global promotion of skiing.

© STA, 2020