Juan Antonio Samaranch, then-President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), officially opened the museum before many dignitaries on the same day as the opening of the 14th WOG.
The museum’s concept and programs were based on Lausanne’s Olympic Museum, with the idea of synthesizing and affirming sports and the arts, as well as promoting Olympic values.
From 1984 to 1992, the museum was housed in Vila Mandić in Mejtaš. Built in 1903, it was part of an Austro-Hungarian villa complex on Petrakijina St., and is now on the list of National Monuments of BiH.
The villa was designed by famous Czech architect Karlo Paržik, along with Sarajevo attorney and politician, Nikola Mandić. The latter served as President of the NDH Government and, after WWII, he lost his life and property as an enemy of the people.
Built in the late historicism style, the building was patterned after the luxury villas of Europe during that period. After WWI, it served as the British Ambassador’s residence, and after WWII it was home to the US Consulate.
The building later housed the seat of the City Committee of the League of Communists, and was then set aside for use by the museum.
On April 27, 1992, at the onset of the Siege of Sarajevo, it was heavily shelled and set alight, but museum staff and Sarajevans moved salvaged items to Zetra.
Members of the IOC deemed the 14th WOG the most well-organized winter games up to that time. There were 1,272 athletes from 49 countries and the biggest stars were the British ice couple, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean; East German ice skater, Katarina Witt; Slovenian alpine skier, Jure Franko (who won Yugoslavia its first silver medal)…. Even today, the WOG mascot Vučko is one of the most recognizable symbols of Sarajevo.
The “new” Olympic Museum was officially opened on February 8, 2004 in the BiH Olympic Committee office at the Zetra-Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic Complex. This marked the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the 14th WOG and the opening of the “original” museum.
The museum houses: a collection of 250 gold florins, Olympic medals and souvenirs, skis used by Jure Franko, a plaque by Ismar Mujezinović, works of art by Andy Warhol, Henry Moore and James Rosenquist; paintings by Mersad Berber and Bekir Misirlić; photos, testimonies, sports equipment, films about the 14th WOG….
The renovation project was initiated in 1998 by Professor Ivan Štraus, BiH’s most prolific architect.
This building on Mejtaš is in its final phases of renovation, and will open its doors this year, when it becomes home to items from the ’84 WOG and mementos from the 2019 EYOF.