Impact of the postponement of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on the schedule of IOC Athletes’ Commission election

The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today decided to launch a review of the schedule of the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) election in light of the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, with a view to holding the election in 2021 during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Measures will also be considered in order to ensure the work of the IOC Athletes’ Commission can continue smoothly until the Games.

IOC Athletes’ Commission

To that end, the IOC EB today agreed in principle that:

  • The terms of the IOC AC members that would end this summer should be extended until after the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
  • Kirsty Coventry would retain her position as Chair of the IOC AC and as an EB member until after the postponed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
  • All necessary decisions on this topic will be made by the next EB meeting in June.

During his closing press conference, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The EB was of the unanimous opinion that, at this critical time, we need full representation of the athletes within the Commission. The athletes’ voice at this moment is extremely important, and we should not have any vacancies.” 

Today’s considerations will form part of a set of recommendations that is being prepared to address the impact of the modified timeline of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on the election procedures with the aim of ensuring continuity and avoiding any disruption to the IOC AC’s work, which is and will remain essential. The recommendations will also address the situation of the Beijing 2022 election, which will also be impacted by the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. After review by the AC, these recommendations will be submitted to the IOC EB in June 2020 and ultimately to the IOC Session in July 2020.


The IOC AC election was initially due to take place in the summer of 2020 in Tokyo, with 30 candidates from 30 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and 19 summer sports running for four available positions.

The four athletes who will be elected by their peers will replace the following members: IOC AC Chair Kirsty Coventry (Zimbabwe), Vice-Chair Danka Bartekova (Slovakia), Tony Estanguet (France) and James Tomkins (Australia). Additionally, the term of office for one of the AC’s appointed members, Stefan Holm (Sweden), will expire at the same time in 2021.

The IOC AC is composed of a maximum of 23 members (12 members directly elected by their peers and a maximum of 11 appointed), who serve a term of eight years.

The vote is held at every Olympic Games, with four members elected at each Summer Games, and two at each Winter Games.

Furthermore, the IOC President, in consultation with the IOC AC Chair, can appoint further Commission members to ensure a good balance between regions, genders and sports. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Commission are elected by the Commission members, and must also be elected members of the AC.

Athletes’ representation in the decision-making process within the Olympic Movement is ensured by the IOC AC Chair, who is a member of the IOC EB. Additionally, up to 15 members of the IOC AC are IOC members, providing athletes with the same representation granted to the International Federations and NOCs.

To find out more about the Athletes' Commission, visit:

The IOC Athletes' Commission Strategy is available here.

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