Elected to the AC at PyeongChang 2018, Emma Terho is a five-time Olympian and former captain of the Finland women's ice hockey team, winning a bronze medal at both the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998 and Vancouver 2010. She will lead the Commission until the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, replacing outgoing Chair Kirsty Coventry.
Elected to the AC at Rio 2016, Seung Min Ryu is a Korean table tennis player who won gold in the men's singles at Athens 2004, a team silver medal at London 2012 and a team bronze medal at Beijing 2008. He will replace outgoing Vice-Chair Danka Bartekova.
IOC Executive Board puts forward six athletes for election as IOC members
The IOC Executive Board (EB) has put forward Pau Gasol Sáez (Spain, basketball), Maja Włoszczowska (Poland, cycling), Federica Pellegrini (Italy, swimming) and Yuki Ota (Japan, fencing) for election by the IOC Session as IOC members. The four athletes were elected as members of the IOC AC for a term of eight years earlier this week by the athletes taking part in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
In accordance with the AC regulations, and at the request of the IOC President, the IOC EB can propose to the Session, for election as IOC members, up to three appointed AC members, in particular to ensure balanced representation of the athletes.
In consultation with outgoing AC Chair Kirsty Coventry, and to ensure geographical balance within the AC, the IOC President has also appointed Humphrey Kayange (Kenya, Rugby) to the Commission. Kayange is the former captain of the Kenyan rugby sevens team, who competed at Rio 2016 and stood as a candidate during this year’s IOC AC election.
In addition, the IOC EB agreed to propose Kayange as well as recently appointed IOC AC member Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (Norway, cross-country skiing) for election as IOC members in line with the AC regulations. Jacobsen joined the AC earlier this year following the resignation of Kikkan Randall, and will remain on the Commission until the end of her term, which will be at the end of the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026. Kayange was proposed for IOC membership as there would otherwise no longer have been any athlete representative from Africa amongst the IOC members.
The EB will also put forward the new Chair of the IOC AC, Emma Terho, for election by the IOC Session as an EB member.
The elections will take place at the 138th IOC Session on 8 August.
A strong foundation to build on for the Athletes’ Commission
Outgoing AC chair Kirsty Coventry leaves a strong foundation and legacy for the new Commission to build on, having pushed through a number of important athlete-focused initiatives since being appointed Chair at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. These include the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration, which established a common set of aspirational rights and responsibilities for athletes within the Olympic Movement, plus an annual USD 10,000 grant from Olympic Solidarity to empower National Olympic Committee (NOC) Athletes’ Commissions.
Her initial eight-year term, and those of the other outgoing members, was extended by a year to help them oversee the IOC AC’s work during the global pandemic, following the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The IOC will continue to benefit from Coventry’s experience and insight into issues affecting athletes, as she has been elected as an individual IOC member by the IOC Session.
Danka Bartekova has also served eight years on the Commission – the last three-and-a-half as Vice-Chair – and has been closely involved in the above initiatives while playing a central role in the organisation and delivery of the International Athletes’ Forum, and the development of the Athlete365 platform and the fight against doping through her work on the WADA Athlete Committee and Foundation Board, and as the athlete representative on the WADA Executive Committee. Athlete365 has grown to become the world’s largest community of elite and Olympic-level athletes and entourage members, and now provides its members with free access to many tools and services designed to help them manage their mental health and their career transition, among other topics.
All the outgoing AC members, including Tony Estanguet, James Tomkins OAM and Stefan Holm, have played an integral part in strengthening support for athletes within the Olympic Movement and in the development and implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020, and most recently Olympic Agenda 2020+5.