Prominent Bulgarian Athlete, Playboy Ivan Slavkov Dies at 70
Bulgarian athlete and highlife figure Ivan Slavkov, aka Bateto, who has gained colorful notoriety over the past decades, passed away in Sofia Sunday aged 70.
Doctors from the Lozenetz University Hospital in Sofia confirmed Slavkov's demise, which has been caused by a long illness.
Slavkov was born May 11, 1940 in Sofia. He graduated from the Technical University in Sofia and competed as a water polo sportsman in the team of Septemvri.
In 1966 Slavkov's wife Svetla Marinova died tragically in a plane crash.
Soon after that the widower married Lyudmila Zhivkova, the much-favored daughter of Bulgarian communist leader Todor Zhivkov.
Slavkov was to be widowed again in 1981, when Zhivkova perished in a car accident.
Bateto started his carreer as a journalist for prominent Bulgarian daily Trud, but then switfly turned to the sports world.
Till the end of the 1970s he was president of the Levski Sofia football team, combining that task with heading the Bulgarian National TV (1972-82).
In 1982 he was chosen to chair the Bulgarian Olympic Committee, and in 1987 - for a lifelong member of the International Olympic Comittee.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s Bateto also presided the Bulgarian Football Union.
Unfortunately, Bateto gained international notoriety in 2004, when undercover BBC journalists apparently managed to "bribe" him to vote for London for the 2012 Olympics.
The BBC subsequently aired their "Buying the Games" film, which caused Slavkov to be expelled from all international chairing positions he held at that moment.
Ever since the 1970s, Slavkov has been notorious in Bulgaria as a social lion and a great womanizer leading an extravagant lifestyle.
Over the 1990s and 2000s, Bateto gradually turned into a prominent social, political and sports commentator, noted for his sharp wit and uncompromising cynicism.