Russian pole vaulter is among four athletes added to the Commission for an eight-year term
Russia’s world pole vault record-holder Yelena Isinbayeva has been elected to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission.
This comes despite the 34-year-old being among athletes prevented from competing at the Olympic Games in Rio due to the ban on international competition for Russian athletes imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
The suspension of the Russian athletics federation as an IAAF Member has been in place since last November and it came after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission report detailed findings including a “deeply rooted culture of cheating” in Russian athletics. That resulted in the suspension of Russian athletes from international competition.
Isinbayeva was among those to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the suspension was upheld, with long jumper Darya Klishina, who trains in the United States, the sole Russian athlete competing in track and field at the Games.
Isinbayeva has still made the journey to Rio, however, and on Thursday it was announced that she had been elected to the Commission along with German fencer Britta Heidemann, Korean table tennis athlete Ryu Seung-min and Hungarian swimmer Daniel Gyurta.
The quartet have been elected to the Commission for a term of eight years.
“The athletes are at the heart of the Olympic Games. Their voice is very important in the IOC,” said IOC president Thomas Bach. “My congratulations go to the newly elected members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. We are looking forward to working closely with them to further advance the Olympic Movement.”
The election had been held over 25 days in Rio’s Olympic Village.
Heidemann was elected with 1603 votes, followed by Ryu with 1544, Gyurta with 1469 votes and Isinbayeva with 1365. A total of 5185 athletes voted.
“Some 11,245 athletes were eligible to vote, and had 23 candidates from the same number of countries to choose from,” read an IOC statement in part. “Votes needed to be cast for four different athletes from four different sports. The candidates had to be presented by their National Olympic Committees, which were required to have their own athletes’ commission to select the candidate. In order to be eligible, the candidates had to have participated either in the Olympic Games in London in 2012 or in Rio in 2016.”
The IOC also advised that the four athletes will be proposed to the IOC Session for IOC membership on August 21. Pending approval, they will then be officially introduced at the Rio 2016 closing ceremony.
The four new members replace outgoing members Claudia Bokel, Dae Sung Moon, Alexander Popov and Yumilka Ruiz Luaces, who were elected at Beijing 2008.