Northern Ireland

Pat Hickey: Olympic official arrested in Rio

Patrick Hickey speaking during an interview at the 2015 European Games in Baku Image copyright JACK GUEZ/AFP
Image caption Pat Hickey has been European Olympic Committees since 2006

It was a marathon, not a sprint, that saw Pat Hickey's career progress over three decades, from Irish athlete to president of the prestigious European Olympic Committees.

But, his career may end in controversy after he was arrested by Brazilian police at a luxury hotel in Rio on Wednesday.

When police initially called at his room, his wife told police, he had left Rio de Janeiro at the weekend and returned to Ireland.

Undeterred, police began a search of the hotel and found Mr Hickey in another room that they said was under his son's name.

He was escorted off the premises wearing his dressing gown to face questions about his alleged role in a scheme to sell Olympic tickets for higher than their face value - an allegation he denies.

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Media captionPat Hickey is suspected of being involved in selling tickets for higher than their face value

Quite a fall for a man at the top of his career.

Born in Dublin in 1945, Patrick Joseph Hickey represented his country internationally in judo - a minor sport in Ireland in the 1970s.

In 1979, he was appointed president of the Irish Judo Association.

Five years later, he managed the Irish Olympic team at the Los Angeles Olympics.

From the country's chef de mission at the 1998 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, he succeeded Des O'Sullivan as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) in 1988.

He was subsequently elected as Irish member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1995.

Image copyright Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Image caption Pat Hickey: "Probably the top-ranked Irish administrator in international sport"

However, he became "a prime mover", in the OCI's words, in July 2006, when he was elected president of the European Olympic Committees. He was re-elected in 2009.

From there, he progressed on to the 15-strong International Olympic Committee in 2012.

Previously described by the OCI as "probably the top-ranked Irish administrator in the world of international sport", the organisation said on Wednesday that Mr Hickey had stood down temporarily from his roles after being arrested during the Rio Olympics amid illegal ticket sales claims.

Married with four children, the former estate agent established the firm Hickey Auctioneers in 1977. The company is now run by his daughter and eldest son.

Mr Hickey's hobbies are listed on the OCI website as "travelling, history and music".

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