9-time Olympic medalist and former sprint freestyle king Alexander Popov has been nominated by the Shooting Union of Russia as a candidate to succeed Alexander Zhukov as president of the Russian Olympic Committee. Zhukov, who has been president since 2010 and throughout the state-sponsored doping scandal, has chosen not to seek re-election.
The Russian Cross Country Skiing Federation already nominated four-time Olympic fencing champion Stanislav Pozdnyakov; so far he and Popov are the only candidates for the ROC presidency and the application deadline for candidates is today. In order to gain a valid nomination, a candidate must be nominated by an ROC sports federation, as both Popov and Pozdnyakov have.
The election will not automatically give the victor IOC membership, meaning that Russia’s representation on the International Olympic Committee will be temporarily lowered to two individuals: two-time Olympic gold medalist pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva of the Athletes’ Commission, and Shamil Tarpischev, a former Russian tennis player and current tennis coach. In 2014 Tarpischev was fined $25,000 and forced to apologize to the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, for making racist and sexist comments.
Following Popov’s nomination, Russia’s official news agency TASS reported that the Shooting Union of Russia said of Popov:
“His many years of work in the Executive Committee of the ROC, and also as chairman of the public council at the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation, shows his knowledge of the real state of affairs in Russian sports.”
“The Shooting Union believes that, in the current realities and existing systemic problems with the position of President, the ROC needs a professional who is not only able to resolve issues within the country, but also at an international level in order to bring Russia back to the status of a strong sports power in the international Olympic Movement.
“This is exactly what Alexander Popov has.”
The election will be held on May 29th.