After many years competing at the highest level of international athletics, Namibian sprint icon Frankie Fredericks was elected to the International Olympic Committee, where he has continued to make a major contribution to global sport.
During a long and illustrious sporting career, in which he competed at the pinnacle of international athletics for 12 years, Frankie Fredericks established himself as the most successful sprinter Africa has ever produced. Born on 2 October 1967 in one of the townships of Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, Fredericks is a four-time Olympic silver medallist (finishing second in the 100m and 200m at Barcelona 1992 and again at Atlanta 1996). He also claimed the 200m gold at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart (GER), to go with three silvers over the same distance in 1991, 1995 and 1997. Moreover, he claimed the Commonwealth Games 200m gold on two occasions (1994 and 2002), a 100m and 200m double at the African Games in Cairo (EGY) in 1991, and was crowned African champion three times (200m in 1998, 100m and 200m in 2002).
Fredericks’ African 200m record of 19.68 seconds, set as he finished second behind Michael Johnson at Atlanta 1996, remains intact to this day, as does his indoor world record of 19.92, which he recorded in February the same year in Liévin (FRA). Over the course of his career, he ran sub-10 seconds in the 100m on no less than 27 occasions, and recorded 24 sub-20 second finishes in the 200m. He competed for the last time in October 2003, at the age of 36, during the All-Africa Games in Abuja (NIG), adding yet another silver medal to his collection, and immediately switched his gaze to a future dedicated to helping others achieve their sporting ambitions: “I’m now going to travel around Africa sharing my experience with young athletes,” he revealed.
With a degree in computer science and an MBA under his belt, Fredericks initially took up a role with the IAAF. He became a member of the IOC in 2004, joining the Athletes’ Commission, which he chaired from 2008 to 2012, before going on to serve on the IOC’s Executive Committee. He was also a member of the Coordination Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
The Namibian was nominated by the international organisation Peace and Sport to become one of their 54 Champions for Peace - high-profile current and former athletes who promote human and social development through sport projects around the world. He also runs his own charity, the Frank Fredericks Foundation, which aims to provide young Namibian athletes with the opportunity to realise their academic and sporting potential. “I am convinced,” he says, “that every athlete in the world can contribute to improving society in the future, giving the best of him or herself, both within the sporting arena and beyond it”. His own inspirational journey serves as a glowing example of how much one individual can achieve.
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