Ljubljana, June 16, 2020 - At the memorial service, held at the Grand Union Hotel in Ljubljana, family, friends and colleagues from around the world and representatives of the Slovenian state paid their last respects to the late President of the European Olympic Committees (EOCs) Janez Kocijančić.

- The Olympic Movement of Europe has lost a great leader and we have all lost a dear and kind friend. He was a profound believer in the power of sport for good, and tirelessly worked to promote Olympic values and ideals in the certainty that they can help provide our youth with a better tomorrow. Aside from his outstanding qualities as a leader, his immeasurable knowledge of sport and of the Olympic Movement in particular, Janez was an immensely kind and compassionate person, a characteristic that endeared him to everyone who worked with him- said his close associate, EOCs Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi.

He also added that the great loss for Olympism cannot be compared to the loss suffered by the Kocijancič family and expressed deep condolences and solidarity to his wife Andreja and their children.

EOCs Secretary General Pagnozzi joined in paying the last respects the EOCs delegation that included members of the Executive Committee Zlatko Mateša and Peter Mennel, as well as staff from the EOCs Roman headquarters, International Olympic Committee (IOC) representatives and some European National Olympic Committees, such as the President and Secretary General of the Hungarian Olympic Committee Krisztian Kulcsar and Balint Vekassy. Representatives of the International Ski Federation (FIS) also attended the memorial service. Kocijančić was a member of the FIS Council from 1981 to 1990 and its first Vice President since 2010.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said in a touching videolink:

- With our friend Janez Kocijančić, the Olympic movement has lost a great, great ambassador of Olympic values, and I have personally lost a longtime loyal friend. He was a true European, a true European who looked beyond the borders of the European Union, including all countries and cultures of European origin. Conversations with him have always been inspiring and interesting because of his rich knowledge of culture, literature and science.

Two-time Olympic gymnastics champion Miroslav Cerar, who together with Kocijančić was one of the founders of the Slovenian Olympic Committee (SOO), said that he remembers Kocijančić as "a constantly present official at the top of Slovenian sport and a highly respected person abroad - creative and determinedly tolerant, full of energy and wisdom."

The memorial service, co-organized by the Slovenian Olympic Committee's Association of Sports Federations and the Ski Federation of Slovenia, ended with awarding the Olympic Order to Janez Kocijančić, as decided by the IOC Executive Board last month. The IOC's highest award for achievements in sport was awarded to Kocijančić in recognition of his "outstanding achievements in world sport and fidelity to the Olympic ideal", illustrated by the character of the renewed modern Olympic Games Pierre de Coubertin".

The Olympic Order was received by Janez's wife Andreja and daughter Nike and presented by the IOC’s special envoy and Croatian Olympic Committee President Zlatko Mateša and President of Slovenian National Olympic Committee Bogdan Gabrovec. The last farewell to Janez Kocijančić was held in the family circle. (EOC/COC/VK)