For the second time in just over seven months, the Athletes Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will be expanded to include new members.
After the election of four athletes – and the appointment of another – in Tokyo 2020 Two more Olympians will join the commission in Beijing in 2022.
The fact that the vote is taking place may have been lost in the turbulent preparations for the Games in the Chinese capital, dominated by legitimate criticism of the country’s human rights record, but it will nonetheless be an important moment for the athletes’ commission.
The IOC announced yesterday that a total of 17 athletes will compete for the two available seats on the commission, a record for the Winter Olympics.
Those who who are successful in voting will replace the outgoing Hayley Wickenheiser and Ole Einar Bjørndalen, who left the K ommission resigned after they decided to extend his stellar biathlon career.
Both Wickenheiser, the Canadian ice hockey star who won four Olympic gold medals, and eight-time Olympic champion Bjørndalen were both inside and outside the IOC because of their lack of Activity criticized during their time in the organization.
Athletes elected to the commission who automatically become IOC members are required by the Olympic Charter to attend meetings and other activities related to their position.
In the charter states: « Every IOC member loses his membership without further explanation if, due to force majeure, he does not attend the IOC meetings for two years in a row or does not actively participate in the work of the IOC. »
Wickenheiser Widely regarded as one of the greatest ice hockey players of all time, was there even before the COVID-19-P outbreak andemie regularly absent from IOC meetings and meetings.
It was seldom a surprise that, for example, the Director General of the IOC, Christophe de Kepper, announced her name on the list of non-participants at a meeting.
The The 47-year-old had apparently concentrated on other areas of her life, especially on her training as a doctor, which she has now completed.
Wickenheiser belongs to a sparsely populated group of IOC members who went against the current, by openly questioning leadership decisions so that their term in office would likely never be extended beyond their mandate in Beijing in 2022.
Last year, the Canadian made headlines around the world by calling the IOC « irresponsible « because it insisted that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics take place as planned. The games in the Japanese capital were postponed a few weeks later.
Wickenheiser said she was privately censored by the IOC for the comments on Twitter, even though she came from a position of considerable knowledge due to her experience as a resident in medical emergency rooms in hospitals in Toronto, where the number of serious patients suffering from COVID-19 has steadily increased.
Bjørndalen was also noticed by his absence during his short time at the IOC. He missed the extraordinary IOC meeting in Monte Carlo in December 2014, the briefing of the candidate cities on the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Races in Lausanne in June 2015 and the IOC meeting the following month in Kuala Lumpur, where Beijing defeated Almaty by four votes to get the hosting rights for the Games.
He also declined to participate in the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in his home country, which led to additional criticism from some of his IOC colleagues.
The IOC said as early as 2016 that a replacement for Bjørndalen would be chosen « in due course ». It turns out that the « due course » is six years.
In a way, the election itself follows the pattern of practically every single vote in every single sector: it’s a popularity contest.
Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol was arguably the biggest name to be voted on in Tokyo 2020. Unsurprisingly, he led the poll by a wide margin.
Gasol, who recently announced his retirement from professional basketball, missed the first IOC Athletes’ Commission meeting after being elected to the panel. A spokesman for his team told insidethegames that he was « fully committed to his new role. » said the spokesman – more than six weeks after the first request for comment.
The most famous name on the list for the Beijing 2022 elections is French biathlon star Martin Fourcade.
The five-time Olympic champion was named in 2019 French candidate proposed after beating high jump legend Renaud Lavillenie in the race for the National Olympic Committee nomination.
Fourcade is an early favorite as the IOC is interested in having a French athlete join the panel as the nation will host the next edition of the Summer Olympics. France lost its representative on the Athletes’ Commission when the tenure of Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet to Tokyo 2020 ended this year.
The 33-year-old who has served as IOC President at events for the two in recent years Thomas Bach’s voice could also be an external bet on the future chairmanship of the commission.
Since joining insidethegames.biz in 2015, Liam Morgan has reported on several international multisport events, including the Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeongchang, the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and three Youth Olympic Games.
Liam reports on the meetings and meetings of the Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee and has also covered several elections and congresses of the International Federation, including FIFA and ANOC .
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