Manolo Romero, the founder of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), has passed away on December 24 at the age of 81.
OBS produces the live television, radio and digital coverage of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was created by the IOC in 2001 to serve as the Host Broadcast organisation for all Olympic Games, Olympic Winter Games and Youth Olympic Games. Mr Romero led the organisation until 2012. He revolutionised the way large sporting events are delivered to the world and created the model upon which all future host broadcast organisations would be built.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was deeply saddened to learn of the Romero’s death with IOC President Thomas Bach stating, “Manolo Romero has left an indelible mark on the broadcast of the Olympic Games. As the founder of Olympic Broadcasting Services, the host broadcaster for the Games, Manolo was a legend and pioneer in the sports broadcasting industry and respected worldwide for his vision, technological expertise and overall passion for the Olympic Movement. His legacy on the broadcast coverage of the Games will endure not only in the state-of-the-art techniques and broadcast innovations he introduced, but also through the thousands of broadcast professionals whom he mentored and influenced over his more than 50 years in the industry.”
Mr Romero was from Sevilla, Spain and started his career at the Spanish broadcaster TVE in 1965. It was there that he began his long and distinguished career working with broadcasters from all over the world. In those early years he was able to learn and incorporate the diverse ways that broadcasters were using technology to create a comprehensive understanding of the industry and where it could go. His first Olympic Games were Mexico City 1968, and while there were countless other Games and events in between, it was Los Angeles 1984 where he had the full oversight of the host broadcast operation, a role he would take on again for Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and subsequently for all Games from Sydney 2000 until he completed his Olympic career following London 2012.
Always at the forefront of technology, Mr Romero was renowned for his high standards and constant drive to achieve more with each Games. He felt that coverage of the Olympics should push boundaries and set the standard for all other sports coverage. It was thanks to his vision of the future that so many broadcasters from around the world were able to witness what technology could do and experience the next generation of the industry’s tools, sometimes many years before they may have been able to do so in their own countries.
Recently, Mr Romero was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of OBS, said: “Manolo Romero’s mentorship and leadership were instrumental in my life and his wisdom and work ethic transcended our work together. The legacy of his guidance still resonates with me every single day of my professional life. Words can’t begin to express how much I will miss him. There was no greater champion of the Olympic Movement, nor anyone whose impact was greater on the world being able to come together and unite through the power of sport.”