6 swimmers are among 30 total athletes who have been nominated by their Natoinal Olympic Committees (NOCs) and their NOC Athletes’ Commissions to run in the IOC Athletes’ Commission. The elections, via their peers, will take place next year during the 2020 Olympic Games, with 4 seats available.
Among the expiring terms is that of IOC Athletes’ Commission chair Kirsty Coventry, who is a 7-time Olympic medalist in swimming representing Zimbabwe at the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympic Games.
The 30 candidates represent 30 NOCs and 19 summer sports. All athletes competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will receive one vote, with voting stations both in the Olympic Village dining hall and at other locations around the Games.
- Therese Alshammar, Sweden, 42 – The now-retired Alshammar has 3 Olympic medals to her name, all earned at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia. While that year was her big international breakthrough (she also won 4 World SC titles in March of that year), her career in elite swimming would extend for more than a decade. Upon retirement, she had 71 major international medals and had competed in 6 Olympic Games. In her final Olympics in 2016, she was Sweden’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the Olympics. That event came 25 years after she won her first Swedish national championship in 1991 when she was just 14-years old. She spent 8 years, from 2008-2016, as a member of the Swedish NOC Athletes’ Commission.
- Cate Campbell, Australia – 27 – Cate Campbell, who is still very active in elite swimming as a competitor, won gold medals at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games and also is a 4-time World Champion in long course. She holds 1 World Record individually, in the women’s 100 free in short course meters, and is also a member of Australia’s long course World Record in the 400 free relay. Campbell has become more-and-more vocal in her leadership among swimmers in recent years, including speaking out against FINA’s treatment of athletes.
- Julian Fletcher, Bermuda – 29 – Fletcher represented his natavie Bermuda at the 2016 Olympic Games, where he finished in 40th place in the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.73. He studied collegiately at SMU in the United States, and is the chair of the Bermuda Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission
- Federica Pellegrini, Italy – 31 – The Italian swimmer Pellegrini is arguably her country’s biggest non-footballing star in the realm of athletics. She won a gold medal in the 200 free at the 2008 Olympic Games and a silver medal in the same in 2004. She has 7 World Championships, including 6 in long course, and 14 European Championships. She has had an unparalleled run of success in the 200 free, having earned a medal in that event at 7 consecutive long course World Championships, including gold in the last two in 2017 and 2019. She has also served as a judge on Italia’s Got Talent.
- Thiago Pereira, Brazil – 33 – The now-retired Pereira represented Brazil at the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympic Games, including winning a silver medal in the 400 IM in London in 2012. He has been a member of Brazil’s Athletes’ Commission since 2009, a member of the FINA Athletes’ Commission since 2013, and has served in several other administrative roles in sport.
- Ryan Pini, Papua New Guinea – 38 – The retired swimmer was one of the great athletes in his country’s history, competing at the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympic Games. His biggest achievement in the water was a 2006 gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in the 100 fly, which he followed up with a silver medal in 2010. Since retirement, Pini has taken on a number of administrative roles, including as the Athlete Representative of the Organisation of Sports Federations of Oceania, and as a FINA Athlete Representative.
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.
Up to 15 members of the IOC AC are IOC members, providing athlete representatives with the same representation within the IOC membership as the International Federations and NOCs. Furthermore, the IOC AC Chair is a member of the IOC Executive Board, to ensure that athletes are part of the decision-making process within the Olympic Movement, which is one of the main responsibilities of the AC, together with supporting athletes’ development in their sporting and non-sporting careers, and serving as a link between the athletes and the IOC.