Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry has been elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes' Commission. Olympic athletes who are elected to the Commission take on eight-year terms as representatives for all athletes in the Olympic movement.
Coventry joins Slovakia's Danka Bartekova (shooting), Australia's James Tomkins (rowing) and France's Tony Estanguet (canoeing) as newly-elected members of the Commission. Bartekova was elected with 2,295 votes, followed by Tomkins with 1,802 votes. Coventry received 1,797 votes and Estanguet 1,779. ??Some 6,924 athletes – 64 per cent of all eligible voters – chose from among 21 candidates from the same number of countries. The votes had to be cast for four different athletes from four different sports. In order to be eligible, the candidates had to have participated either in the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 or in London in 2012, and have never been found guilty of a doping offence during their sports career.
The four new members will replace Hicham El Guerrouj, Rania Elwani, Frank Fredericks (former Chairman) and Jan Zelezny, who were elected to the Commission at the Games in Athens in 2004, and have come to the end of their term of office.
The IOC Athletes’ Commission is now chaired by Claudia Bokel, who was elected to this position by the Commission members on 22 July. Bokel is also representing the athletes’ interests on the IOC’s Executive Board. Vice-Chair is Adam Pengilly, a former skeleton athlete who competed at the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Following the announcement, Chairwoman DeFrantz said: "The athletes are at the centre of everything we do, and the Commission ensures that their voice is heard in all important decisions taken by the IOC. The four new members can make a valuable contribution to the work of this Commission."
The Commission, which meets once or twice per year, serves as a consultative body and is the link between active athletes and the IOC. It is composed of 12 athletes (8 summer and 4 winter) elected for eight years by the athletes participating in the Olympic Games, and of up to seven athletes appointed by the IOC President, to ensure a balance between regions, genders and sports. In addition, a representative of the World Olympians Association (WOA) and a representative of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) are ex-officio members.
What the IOC Athletes’ Commission does:
- Makes recommendations to and participates in the IOC’s main commissions and working groups
- Works in liaison with the athletes’ commissions of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs), Continental Associations, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
- Participates in the Olympic Games candidate city evaluation process
- Raises awareness among athletes of the fight against doping
- Oversees the IOC Athlete Career Programme (education, life skills and employment)
- Encourages women to take leadership positions in sports administration
- Promotes a healthy environment for everyone
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