By Tom Degun at the Samaranch Memorial in Tianjin

Jacques Rogge opens Samaranch Memorial April 21 2013April 21 - The Samaranch Memorial has been unveiled here today with a special ceremony to commemorate the memory and legacy of the late Juan Antonio Samaranch, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 1980 to 2001.

The ceremony was attended by a 28 IOC members, including current President Jacques Rogge and Executive Board member Juan Antonio Samaranch Junior, son of the former President who died exactly three years ago on April 21, 2010, at the age of 89.

Also in attendance was IOC Executive Board member C K Wu of Chinese Taipei, a world-renowned architecture expert who conceived, founded and designed the Samaranch Memorial.

The Memorial - which was built at a cost of £38 million ($61 million/€47 million) - features the vast majority of Samaranch's lifelong Olympic collection that he donated to Wu shortly before his death.

Jacques Rogge and C K Wu at opening of Samaranch Memorial April 21 2013Jacques Rogge and C K Wu International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board President Jacques Rogge and C K Wu visit the Samaranch Memorial Museum

There are more than 16,000 items in the collection but currently only a 1,000 are on display with the exhibits due to be rotated.

"This has been a very important project for me," Wu told insidethegames.

"It was very important for the Memorial to open today, exactly three years on from the death of my great friend and mentor Juan Antonio Samaranch.

"We only began construction in July last year so we had a race again time to get it ready in seven months for today.

"But I am delighted that we have managed to do this and that we have a special Memorial to commemorate the memory and legacy."

Juan Antonio Samaranch at Samaranch Memorial April 21 2013Juan Antonio Samaranch Junior poses outside the Museum dedicated to his father

The Memorial for the Spaniard has been built on an area of 19,000 square metres with three overlapping circular structures forming the main building.

These circles together form the shapes of "8", "S" and "∞"which can be seen as representations of the Beijing 2008, Samaranch and the infinite and the eternal.

In addition, circular ramps connecting the two buildings and the three levels make up the five Olympic rings - the symbol of the union five continents through the Olympic Movement.

During his 21-year reign as IOC President Samaranch took the IOC from near bankruptcy when he began in office to huge financial prosperity by the time he stepped down in 2001, largely through securing major television and sponsorships deals.

Samaranch Memorial opening 3 Apri 21 2013Don Porter, co-President of the World Baseball Softball Confederations, visits the Samaranch Memorial Museum

He also helped reform the IOC to make the organisation more transparent following a major bribery scandal surrounding the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics

His numerous feats have made Samaranch the most influential and significant figure in the history of the Olympic Movement since the founder of the Modern Olympic Games Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

Samaranch also served the second longest term as IOC President behind Coubertin, who served in the role for 29 years from 1896 to 1925.

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