The Olympics could welcome participation by professional hockey, soccer and tennis players and other pros under a prospective rule change, International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch said.

At the end of a three-day meeting of the IOC's executive board in Lausanne, Switzerland, Samaranch told reporters the potential change in the Olympic Charter would encourage participation of "high-level athletes" and "give all athletes equal opportunity" to compete by eliminating the current distinction between amateur and pro.

"For us, a professional is the same as a Soviet bloc state athlete," Samaranch said.

The charter change will be submitted for approval to the 91-nation IOC General Assembly in October. Approval would put it in force for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta . . .

The Jan. 24 death in Japan of U.S. volleyball star Flo Hyman, the Feb. 17 Sports Illustrated reports, has been attributed to a ruptured aorta caused by Marfan syndrome. The magazine talked to Dr. Victor Rosen, who performed the autopsy on the 1984 Olympian. Marfan syndrome is described as a congenital condition that exacts a disproportionately large toll among tall people such as the 6-foot-5 Hyman. Chris Patton, a Maryland basketball player, died similarly 10 years ago.