WOA mourns Olympic great Peter Tallberg

16 | 5 | 2015

The WOA is saddened to learn of the death of Peter Tallberg, former WOA Board Member and IOC Member in Finland, at the age of 77.

A five-time Olympic sailor, Peter Tallberg served as the WOA liaison to the IOC Athletes' Commission from 2007-2014. Tallberg was also the second-longest serving current IOC Member, having been elected in 1976.

Speaking about the death of Peter Tallberg, WOA President, Joël Bouzou, said:

"For me Peter Tallberg is and will remain a pillar of the Olympic ideal and dream. Peter always looked further than sport, always thinking about what sport and great athletes could bring to society. This is why he attended many editions of the International Peace and Sport Forum.

"Peter is the person who pushed me to run for the WOA Presidency. He was convinced that the organisation could benefit not only Olympians, but the whole of society through the work of Olympians. He was therefore very happy with the current reforms of the WOA. Having been the liaison between the WOA and the IOC Athletes Committee from 2007 to 2014, Peter will be sadly missed by all Olympians but he will remain in all our hearts forever." 

During his 40-plus years working for the Olympic Movement, Mr Tallberg had a strong and far-reaching impact. He chaired the IOC Athletes' Commission from its inception in 1981 until 2002, when he became an Honorary Member of the Commission. He was also a Member of the following IOC commissions:

  • Eligibility (1979-1980)
  • Olympic Programme (summer) (1980-1994)
  • Olympic Movement (1981-1999)
  • Coordination for the Games of the XXVe Olympiad in 1992 in Barcelona (1989-1992)
  • Study for the Preparation of the Olympic Games of 1996 (1989-1990)
  • Preparation for the XII Olympic Congress (1989-1994)
  • Enquiry for the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in 2000 (1993)
  • Coordination for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in 2004 in Athens (1998-2004)
  • "IOC 2000" (1999), Evaluation for the XXI Olympic Winter Games in 2010 (2002-2003)
  • Coordination for the Games of the XXX Olympiad in 2012 in London (2005-2012)
  • Nominations since 2014

Mr Tallberg was the President of the International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU, later International Sailing Federation - ISAF) (1986-1994); President of the Finnish Yachting Association (1977-1983), and President of the Scandinavian Yacht Racing Union (1978-1981).

He captained the Finnish Olympic Yachting team (1976), was Vice-President of the Finnish Squash Association (1974-1976), became a Council member and Secretary General of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF, later SportAccord) (1988-1998), and was a member of the Executive Board of the European Sport Conference (1994-1998).

Mr Tallberg worked tirelessly to place the athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement and to protect sport from all forms of corruption. He was also a Council Member of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) (1999-2002).

Before transitioning into the administrative side of sport, Tallberg was a decorated sailor who competed in five editions of the Olympic Games. His best performance at the Games was a fourth-place finish in Star at Tokyo 1964. He finished 15th in the 5.5m in Rome 1960, 11th in Star at Mexico City 1968, 12th in Soling at Munich 1972, and 11th in Star at Moscow 1980.

Tallberg was Junior European centreboard yachting champion (1953); Finnish champion in Finn (1969), in Soling (1970 and 1972), in H (1974); Nordic Finn champion (1969); Swedish champion (1963 and 1965) and European Star champion (1967).

He also enjoyed practising other sports, including squash, table tennis, skiing and golf. As a skier, Tallberg was Finnish junior slalom champion in 1954. He finished 3rd in the Finnish senior squash championships in 1978.

The WOA extends its deepest condolences to Peter Tallberg's family.