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Thursday 29 September 2016

Judo black belt's three decades of grappling at top table of sports

Pat Hickey has been with the OCI for 28 years. Photo: Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports
Pat Hickey has been with the OCI for 28 years. Photo: Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports

Pat Hickey has risen through the ranks of not only international and Irish Olympic organisations, but in other key sporting bodies.

The former auctioneer (71) had previously said he would step down ahead of the Games this year, but stayed on. A judo black belt, he competed at a high level in the sport for Ireland before becoming involved behind the scenes.

He has held several positions in sporting organisations and is known to court the votes of those involved in smaller sports such as his own.

He sits on the International Olympic Council (IOC) executive board.

Honorary

He is also a member of the Olympic Solidarity Committee and worked on the co-ordination of this year's Games in Rio as part of his work with the IOC.

Outside of the IOC he is an honorary life president of the Irish Judo Association and is the president of the European Olympic Committees (EOC).

He has also been a member of the executive council of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) since 1994 and was elected their senior vice-president in 2006. A T-shirt bearing the ANOC logo could be seen in his Rio hotel room when he was arrested.

Last year he opened the first European Games in Baku, which he later described as his "legacy".

Mr Hickey, who is from Phibsboro, and his wife Sylviane have four children. Sylviane is listed as co-director for Mr Hickey's insurance business.

She often attends high-profile events and was pictured at Katie Taylor's 2015 European Games semi-final fight alongside her husband and vice-president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) William O'Brien.

During his 28 years with the OCI, Mr Hickey has weathered several storms.

In the 1990s he had a run-in with former minister Bernard Allen over sports funding and referred to the Fine Gael politician as "Fuhrer".

Mr Hickey went on to clash with another sports minister, Jim McDaid, over accreditation for the Sydney Games in 2000.

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