Olympic Games / Barcelona '92: IOC chief intends to keep on running: Samaranch will seek another four-year term while Johnson heads for a hideaway

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The Independent Online
JUAN Antonio Samaranch, whose presidency of the International Olympic Committee has come under strong criticism in recent months, confirmed yesterday that he will seek another four-year term of office. He had not been expected to make any decision until after the Games were over.

Samaranch has acknowledged that presiding over a Games in his home city of Barcelona appeared to be a natural high point of his career, but he has always stressed that he would not hand over power unless he felt there was a suitable successor.

He will thus remain at the helm for the centennial Olympics of 1996, in Atlanta, and, perhaps more crucially, for the rarely held Olympic Congress two years hence in Paris, where the future programme of the Games in 2000 and beyond will be defined. The last three full Congresses were in 1981, 1973 and 1930.

Samaranch's decision came in response to a demand from the French IOC member, Maurice Herzog, to indicate what his intentions were.

The IOC has also called for a revival of the world truce which used to operate from seven days before the ancient Games until seven days afterwards, and have written to heads of governments requesting them to comply. This must presumably be seen as a moral gesture.

There was some dissension in the IOC ranks over the decision not to allow Yugoslavia to compete as a team, or for competitors from states within the country to compete in team events. This was seen as a breach of the spirit of the Olympic Charter.

Meanwhile, Ben Johnson has arrived in Barcelona and disappeared to an unknown location in company with his manager, Kemeel Azan, after accrediting himself at the airport.

Frank Ratcliffe, a spokesman for the Canadian team, said that a room had been booked for Johnson in the Olympic village at dollars 130 ( pounds 70) a night.

'We don't insist on our athletes staying in the village, but we prefer it,' he said. 'It's part of the Olympic spirit.'

Britain's leading rower, Steven Redgrave, was yesterday selected to carry the team flag in tomorrow's opening ceremony at the Montjuic stadium.

Redgrave, who is 30, won a gold medal in the coxed four in the 1984 Los Angeles Games, and in the 1988 Games at Seoul, in partnership with Andrew Holmes, he won a further gold in the coxless pair and a bronze in the coxed pair.

He is the current world coxless pairs champion with Matthew Pinsent.

Redgrave clearly won the vote - taken by all the managers of Britain's sports at the Games - against opposition from Sean Kerly (hockey), Suki Brownsdon (swimming), Terry Bartlett (gymnastics), Richard Priestman (archery) and Richard Phelps (modern pentathlon).

Frank Dick, Britain's director of coaching, won a concession from the Games' organisers yesterday when they agreed to let in a limited number of personal coaches to athletes' training centres, providing their names and passport numbers were given in advance. The coaches have still not been given access to the athletes' warm-up area or the main stadium.

Two Olympic medal hopefuls were stranded in Sarajevo last night, with little hope of reaching Barcelona for the opening ceremony.

The middle-distance runner, Mirsada Buric, and judoka Vlado Parazic, a marksman with the Bosnian special forces, have been marooned by a diplomatic wrangle over transport.

The United Nations' High Commission for Refugees is willing to take a delegation of 13 out of the republic, and claims to have the backing of Serb militiamen.

But the Bosnian Olympic Committee is insisting that a full delegation of 23 head for Spain.

(Photograph omitted)

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