Nelson Mandela: IOC to lower Olympic flag for three days in mark of respect after death of former South African President

Mandela passed away aged 95 and IOC president Thomas Bach has confirmed the governing body will pay their respects to Mandela in lowering the Olympic flag

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The Independent Online

The International Olympic Committee has announced it will lower the Olympic flag for three days to mark the death of Nelson Mandela.

IOC president Thomas Bach paid tribute to the former South African president, who died on Thursday aged 95.

Bach, who had met Mandela personally, said: "The Olympic Movement is mourning the loss of a great friend and a hero of humanity.

"However, his attitude towards sport can make us proud - proud at his understanding of the potential of sport to bring inclusion."

Bach said Mandela had been an inspiration to him.

He added: "When I met him, I remember asking him if he hated his enemies. He replied, 'No'. When he saw I doubted him he added: 'If I would hate them I would not be a free man any more.' That sums up the man and his humanity."

South Africa's IOC member Sam Ramsamy, who was a leading member of the anti-apartheid movement, added his tribute, praising Mandela for his "understanding of sport as a uniting factor".

He added: "This is a time to celebrate a great life, not to mourn."