Samaranch, the International Olympic Committee president, said that a decision of his organisation's executive board to grant recognition to the World Confederation of Billiard Sports meant that snooker could be part of the 2004 Games.
"I would like to congratulate the WCBS for all the efforts made in order to reach this goal and welcome you in the Olympic family," Samaranch said.
Snooker's world champion, Stephen Hendry, said: "It is the ambition of every sportsman to play at the very highest level and the Olympics provide the biggest sporting stage in the world.
"To compete alongside the top athletes, tennis players and basketball stars would be a dream come true."
WCBS represents all cue sports, including billiards and pool. They have succeeded in getting cue sports included at the next Asian Games in 1998, and they are lobbying for acceptance in time for inclusion at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, to be held in Manchester.
Nigel Oldfield, WCBS vice-president, said: "This is excellent news for cue sports."
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