vyv simson

Let‘s get on with it!

The most important investigative Olympic journalist has died in the year of the sporting rogue states, with mega events in China and Qatar. We honour the legacy of Andrew Jennings by not letting 2022 go unchallenged.

My editorial in the Andrew Jennings Edition of SPORT & POLITICS magazine.

Andrew would like this, I’m sure. He wants us to laugh. So: Andrew’s alter ego Juan Antonio Samaranch Sr. has had meticulous accounts kept of his official activities as President of the International Olympic Committee. In 1997, the IOC even published a statistics book on this by the Swedish sports historian and Samaranch fan Wolf Lyberg: The seventh President of the IOC – facts and figures. It is one of my favourite books. It listed pretty much everything that mankind desperately wanted to know about the day-to-day business of Samaranch’s first 17 years in office:

How many days Samaranch flew (2,116), the number of days he travelled (3,520), the number of hours he flew (4,805), the number of Olympic medals distributed (679), the number of kilometres travelled (3,480,280), the number of NOCs visited (193) and the heads of state, kings, queens, princes, emirs, sultans and premiers he shook hands with (179). Some of them, Lyberg obviously noted enthusiastically, Samaranch had visited “four or even six times”!

Wow.

Why am I reminding you of this?

I nimbly counted the photos of Samaranch printed in the IOC booklet: 92. Of course, the IOC did not publish any photos showing Samaranch Sr. with his revered Caudillo and with his right arm outstretched.

In this magazine in honour of Andrew Jennings, there are currently – at the time I am writing these lines – my editorial has yet to be illustrated, 29 photos of Andrew. There may be a few more to come.

92-29, then, for Samaranch against Jennings. A commanding victory.

But instead, as Andrew would have wanted, you will find four photos in this issue that show the Franquist Samaranch as the IOC has never shown him. And that is how it should be.

As I said, Andrew would like this statistic. But you, dear reader, might ask yourself: Damn, why does this Weinreich start his text with such a stupid statistic about pictures?

I can offer you an answer to that: Because Andrew Jennings was not only a man of documents, as described first and foremost and rightly by many authors of this magazine – Andrew was also a man of images.

Besides the motto get the documents!, I learned something else from Andrew that was extremely important to him: we need colourful notes! (That is the wording as I have memorised it).

Without documents, Andrew would never have been able to achieve such a brilliant impact and shape generations of journalists. But neither would he have done so without his colourful notes. Otherwise, he would never have been able to captivate his readers, listeners and viewers.