A career politician, Mr He was instrumental in bringing China back into the Olympic Movement. He was elected as an IOC Member in 1981, serving in the role until 2010, when he became IOC Honorary Member. He sat on the IOC Executive Board three times (1985-1989, 1994-1998 and 1999-2003) and served as an IOC Vice-President from 1989 to 1993.
Mr He is credited with helping Beijing win the right to host the 2008 Olympic Games and to open up China to the world.
He was a firm believer in sport’s ability to educate, and long championed the teaching of the Olympic values as well as sport in school curricula.
“For me personally he showed me true friendship and gave me invaluable advice from my very early days as an IOC member. I will always remember this with great gratitude,” the President added.
During his three decades working for the Olympic Movement, Mr He was Chairman of the Cultural Commission (1995-1999), Chairman (2000-2009) and then Honorary Member (2009-2015) of the Commission for Culture and Olympic Education, and Vice-Chairman of the Sport for All Commission (1985-1987). He was also a Member of the following Commissions:
- Olympic Solidarity (1981-1987)
- Olympic Movement (1985-1999)
- Apartheid and Olympism (1989-1992)
- Council of the Olympic Order (1989-1993)
- Preparation of the XII Olympic Congress (1990-1993)
- Study of the Centennial Olympic Congress – Congress of Unity (1994-1996)
- “IOC 2000” (1999)
- “IOC 2000” Reform Follow-up (2002)
- 2009 Congress (2006-2009)
A keen sportsman, Mr He enjoyed swimming, playing table tennis, tennis, football, basketball and golf.
The IOC expresses its deepest sympathies to Zhenliang He’s family. The IOC President has asked for the Olympic flag to be flown half-mast for three days in tribute to a great Olympic personality.