5 August 2008 :Athletes participating in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games are currently gathering not only in their competition venues, but also around ballot boxes. Concretely, they are voting for four out of 29 candidates from different countries and sports who will represent their interests in the IOC Athletes’ Commission.
The Commission is the link between active athletes and the IOC. It upholds the rights, expertise and obligations of the athletes, and meets regularly – also with the IOC Executive Board, to which it issues recommendations. Furthermore, the Commission ensures that athletes’ needs are met early on in the Games’ planning through collaboration with the Organising Committees in the host cities.
IOC Athletes’ Commission: composition and activities
The IOC Athletes’ Commission consists of 19 members, including active and retired athletes. Twelve athletes are elected for eight years by the athletes competing in the Olympic Games, and up to seven athletes are appointed by the IOC President to ensure a balance between regions, genders and sports. The Commission also includes one representative of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and one representative of the World Olympians Association (WOA). The athletes’ representatives work on important topics where their expertise makes a huge difference – to name only a few: education for athletes and their professional lives after their sporting career, how to increase women’s participation in sport, and ways of contributing to the best possible integration of sports facilities into the environment.
Don’t stay outside the arena!
"The athletes really are at the heart of the Olympic Movement and, through the Athletes’ Commission, they have an important voice within the IOC. All four of the new members will become IOC members," explains former Commission Chairman Sergey Bubka, whose term of office has just expired. "It is vital that all the athletes competing in the Beijing Olympic Games go to the ballot boxes and use the opportunity to have their interests defended – the Commission is really for them. My appeal is: don’t stay outside the arena," he concludes.
The results of the IOC Athletes’ Commission elections will be revealed on 21 August, and the new members will be officially introduced during the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games.