The world of sport is continuing to pay tribute to the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) secretary general, International Olympic Committee member and Global Association of International Sports Federations president Patrick Baumann, who died in Buenos Aires on Friday evening while attending the Youth Olympic Games. He was 51.
Widely considered one of the most influential sports leaders of his generation and tipped for further high office, Baumann was an inspirational leader whose vision, drive and matchless enthusiasm characterised his work on behalf of sport worldwide.
Baumann’s professional life was dedicated to sport. He made Fiba one of the most forward-thinking international federations and drove the adoption of the 3×3 variant of the sport. He was a highly-respected IOC member and a member of the IOC Evaluation Commissions for the Olympic Games of 2008 and 2020, a member of the Coordination Commission for the 2012 Olympic Games and chairman of the Evaluation Commission and vice-chairman of the Coordination Commission for the 2024 Olympic Games.
Baumann was the driving force behind the transformation of GAISF following his election to the presidency in 2016. Under his guidance the organisation re-branded and found a new direction and fresh purpose within the Olympic family. He engineered GAISF’s pivotal Memorandum of Understanding with the IOC and put in place systems to ensure GAISF’s unity and assure its future as a key service provider for its members.
Baumann had a profound and lasting impact on every organisation he served. His unswerving sense of purpose and ability to share his good-natured enthusiasm in five languages won him friends worldwide.
In his honour, the Olympic flag is flying at half-mast at the IOC headquarters.
Fiba president Horacio Muratore was among the first to pay tribute: “Patrick was a lot more than Fiba’s secretary general and an IOC member. He was a very close friend of mine as well as to countless people in the basketball family and the wider sport community.
“Under his leadership, Fiba moved forward by leaps and bounds. The organisation modernised itself to the extent of becoming a model for fellow international federations to follow.”
IOC president Thomas Bach said: “This is a great shock, which has hit us all very hard. We lose a young and sympathetic leader full of hope who was standing for the future of sport. Our thoughts are with his wife, his children and his family.”