%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ Arne Haukvik, the founder of the Bislett Games, died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 76.

Haukvik died at a hospital in the Oslo, according to the Norwegian news agency NTB.

Haukvik was the meet director of the Bislett Games from 1966-85. He created the famous strawberry party, which brought together athletes, media and organizers at his home, where he used to greet guests in his trademark straw hat.

Haukvik continued to support the Bislett games, never missing a meet. He attended this year's Bislett Games on June 28.

``This is a very sad loss for the sport,'' said Lamine Diack, president of the IAAF, world track's governing body. ``Arne was an enthusiastic lover of the sport who always put the athletes first.''

Haukvik was a member of the Oslo City Council 1968-79, and Member of Parliament, representing the Center Party, 1993-97.