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Under the watch of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, tennis returned to the Olympic program in 1988 after a 68-year absence. On Sunday, the 89-year old spent the final minutes of life watching the sport he loved.
Samaranch had just finished watching his fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal win the Monte Carlo Masters when he fell ill. His son and daughter took him to the hospital where he soon collapsed, never to regain consciousness. Later, Samaranch's son told reporters:
"He was feeling fine. There was nothing out of the ordinary. He watched Nadal's match -- he loved tennis -- and after the game he wasn't feeling great so we decided to come (to the hospital) around 6 or 7 at night. "Then he collapsed. They stabilized him but he never came out. And that was the last time he was conscious."
Tennis was played at the first modern Olympics in 1896, but withdrew in 1924. After being staged as a demonstration sport in Los Angeles in 1984, tennis made it back on the schedule four years later in Seoul thanks, in large part, to a lobbying effort by Samaranch.
- Juan Antonio Samaranch