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Patrick Baumann, rising star in Olympic circles, dies at 51

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Patrick Baumann, the secretary general of basketball’s world governing body who was seen as a potential IOC president, has died at the Youth Olympics. He was 51.

Baumann “unexpectedly succumbed to a heart attack” in Buenos Aires despite getting immediate medical help, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) said Sunday in a statement.

“Basketball has lost a leader, an advocate and a friend and our thoughts are with Patrick’s wife and two children at this tragic time,” the Switzerland based FIBA said.

Baumann was FIBA’s top administrator for 15 years, and an International Olympic Committee member since 2007.

“We can hardly believe this terrible news,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement. “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.”

Flags will be flown at half-staff at IOC offices in Buenos Aires and its home city of Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC said a memorial will be held in the athlete village in Buenos Aires.

A lawyer from Switzerland, Baumann had taken an increasingly important role in Olympic circles.

He led an IOC panel evaluating the Paris and Los Angeles bids for the 2024 Olympics, and then took charge of overseeing preparations for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. The IOC appointed Baumann to the World Anti-Doping Agency executive board, and he was elected president of the global group of sports federations, known as GAISF.

At meetings last week on the sidelines of the Youth Olympics, Baumann updated IOC members on the Los Angeles Games and the 2020 Lausanne Youth Olympics. He was president of its organizing committee.

Baumann was key to developing the 3-on-3 urban version of basketball and pushing for its inclusion as an Olympic medal event.

He earned masters degrees from the Business School of the University of Chicago, and in sports administration from the University of Lyon in France.

IOC approves refugee team for Tokyo Olympics

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A refugee Olympic team will appear at a second straight Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

“The initiative is a continuation of the IOC’s commitment to play its part in addressing the global refugee crisis and another opportunity to continue to convey the message of solidarity and hope to millions of refugee and internally displaced athletes,” according to an IOC press release.

Team members will be named in 2020.

The first Olympic refugee team competed in Rio, with 10 athletes in three sports from South Sudan, Syria, Congo and Ethiopia.

They marched in the Opening Ceremony under the Olympic flag and entered the stadium directly before host nation Brazil.

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Afghan female basketball player among nine elected IOC members

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The International Olympic Committee has elected nine new members including 24-year-old Samira Asghari, an Afghanistan women’s national basketball team player.

Afghanistan was ineligible to compete at the 2000 Sydney Games because its National Olympic Committee did not follow the Olympic Charter, most notably the Taliban prohibiting female athletes.

By Athens 2004, when Afghanistan returned to the Olympics, it entered female athletes for the first time. It sent one female athlete to each of the last three Summer Olympics, compared to 12 total male athletes among 2008, 2012 and 2016. Asghari is Afghanistan’s first IOC member, according to Olympic historians.

Two more women among the IOC newcomers are Daina Gudzineviciute of Lithuania, a shooting gold medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and former nurse Felicite Rwemarika of Rwanda.

Six men elected by fellow IOC members are: Camilo Perez (Paraguay), Giovanni Malago (Italy), William Blick (Uganda), Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck (Bhutan), Morinari Watanabe (Japan), Andrew Parsons (Brazil).

The Bhutani prince, who was educated at Choate Rosemary Hall boarding school in Connecticut, joins as another Asian royal family member, Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia, leaves after reaching the 70-year age limit

IOC members voted bobsled federation president Ivo Ferriani of Italy to their executive board representing winter sports.

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