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Ostos Mora Passes Away

Nov 6, 2008  - Craig Lord

Javier Ostos Mora, the only FINA President ever to serve two divided terms in the highest office of the International Swimming Federation and a man who helped bring the Olympic Games to Mexico in 1968, passed away in the early hours of today. He was 85 years of age.

  • By way of tribute to his work in aquatic sports, here follows an extract penned by this author from Aquatics - 1908-2008.


FINA President 1968-1972 and 1976-80

The only FINA President to serve two non-consecutive terms of office, Javier Ostos Mora was the leading light in securing the Olympic Games for Mexico City in 1968. Having celebrated the success of that campaign, he was then a leading light in the organization of the first high-altitude aquatics event.

During his first term as FINA President, Ostos Mora served simultaneously as President of the Mexican Swimming Federation, the Central American and Caribbean Confederation and the Amateur Swimming Union of the Americas.

His rise to the helm of the aquatic sports world took him through every layer and level of the sports he worked in: at local, national and international level, Ostos Mora was a swimmer, diver and water polo player, a team captain, coach, club president, manager, regional and then national delegate in Mexico and organizer of the Pan American Games.

He served as Vice-President of FINA (1964-68) before being elected to the highest office, while his work as a permanent member of the Mexican Olympic Committee proved invaluable to FINA. A popular figure, Ostos Mora was re-elected to the presidency when Dr Harold Henning’s term ended in 1976, his enthusiasm and charm irresistible at a time of Cold War that dictated a steady, diplomatic hand.

Ostos Mora, who founded the Central American Age-Group Swimming Championships, donated the Palenque head, a silver sculpture donated in honour of Latin America’s most successful swimmers after being inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1981.

In 2005, the Mexican Olympic Olympic Committee hosted a special celebration to pay homage to the past President of FINA and recognise his long and exemplary career, both as an athlete and official. President of ANOC, Mario Vázquez Raña, praised Ostos Mora “extraordinary qualities, his integrity, his boundless devotion to the promotion and development of the Olympic ideal in Mexico and in the world, his great achievements as a lawyer serving sport, his exemplary conduct, his loyalty, and his firmness in maintaining the Olympic principles”.

On behalf of the Mexican Olympic Family, Felipe Muñoz Kapamas, President of the Mexican Olympic Committee and Olympic breaststroke champion at those home Games in Mexico, described Ostos Mopra as a national hero and spoke of the “widespread affection and respect for [him] as an athlete, a judge, a coach, and a national as well as international leader.”

Ostos Mora responded by saying: “Live for sport, and love Olympism to be able to stand for it with passion and devotion … go on being Olympians, never renounce this high honour”.  Recipient of the FINA Prize of Eminence in 1979, the man who put helped to put Mexico on the aquatics map has been FINA Life President since 1992.