The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board today approved the candidatures of six winter sports athletes for the IOC Athletes’ Commission elections, which will be held during the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 next February.

Welcoming this approval, current Chair of the Commission Angela Ruggiero said: “I am delighted with the calibre of candidates running for a place in the IOC Athletes’ Commission. I have every confidence in each candidate to strongly represent athletes in the Olympic Movement and continue the excellent work of the IOC Athletes’ Commission to date. I wish all of them the best of luck, and urge all Olympians competing in PyeongChang next year to vote for the candidates they wish to represent them on the IOC.”

Nominated by their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the candidates vying for two available positions originate from three continents and represent five different sports.

The candidates* are: Astrid Uhrenholdt JACOBSEN (NOR) (skiing/cross-country); Ander MIRAMBELL (ESP) (skeleton); Kikkan RANDALL (USA) (skiing/cross-country); Emma TERHO (FIN) (ice hockey); Hong ZHANG (CHN) (skating/speed-skating); and Armin ZOEGGELER (ITA) (luge).

Two seats on the Commission will become available in 2018, with current Chair Angela Ruggiero and member Adam Pengilly finishing their terms of office next February. All athletes participating in the next Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang will be eligible to vote for their preferred candidates. After approval by the IOC Session, the two elected Olympians will become IOC Members for an eight-year term.

Find the list of candidates (*in alphabetical order) and their biographies here.

Six representatives have been nominated by the IOC President to form the Election Committee to oversee the IOC Athletes’ Commission election. The Committee is composed of: Nicole Hoevertsz (Chair of the IOC Election Committee and representing the IOC Legal Affairs Commission); Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant (representing the IOC Ethics Commission); James Tomkins (representing the IOC Athletes’ Commission); Dagmawit Girmay Berhane (representing the IOC Members Election Commission); Ivo Ferriani (representing the Association of International Olympic Winter Federations (AIOWF)); and Mikaela Cojuangco Jaworski (representing ANOC).

The Election Committee will be responsible for ensuring that the procedures and regulations are followed at all times as well as certifying the final vote count.

A joint meeting to discuss future strategies

Following the candidatures’ approval, the IOC Athletes’ Commission joined the Executive Board for a joint meeting in order to discuss the development and implementation of their future strategy.

“Our mission is to represent athletes within the Olympic Movement and support them to succeed on and off the field of play,” explains Angela Ruggiero. “Today, we discussed the key challenges of the Olympic Movement relating to athletes and highlighted the ways in which our strategy would help address these points. I look forward to building on this incredible momentum and maximising the positive impact we can make on behalf of athletes and the Olympic Movement.”

Throughout the strategy development process, the IOC Athletes’ Commission has engaged with a number of stakeholders and partners, including IOC leadership, International Federations and Continental Associations Athletes’ Commissions, to mention but a few.

Vice-Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission Tony Estanguet said: “We recognise that the Olympic Movement is not free of challenges, and the IOC Athletes’ Commission has been, and continues to be, key to addressing issues such as doping.”

He added: “We are absolutely delighted to have the full support of the IOC President and IOC Executive Board, and very much recognise the fundamental role of the Olympic Movement stakeholders in the successful delivery of our strategy. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership and collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure that we can serve our peers in the best possible way.”

The IOC Athletes’ Commission will finalise its strategy over the coming months, and it will be formally presented for approval by the IOC Executive Board this September.

An active Commission for and by athletes

Reflecting the Olympic Agenda 2020 aim of placing the athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement and strengthening the support to athletes, the IOC Athletes’ Commission serves as a link between athletes and the IOC. The majority of members of the Commission are elected directly by Olympic athletes and act as the athletes’ representatives in the Olympic Movement. Members of the Commission are also present on the majority of IOC commissions, and the Chair serves on the IOC Executive Board as a full member.

The goal of the IOC Athletes’ Commission is to ensure that the athletes’ viewpoint remains at the heart of the Olympic Movement decisions. Additionally, an integral part of the work is to support athletes on and off the field of play and to promote the protection of clean sport.

The Commission members are also involved in many key IOC activities and fully integrated into the IOC decision-making process. This includes the process for evaluating Candidate Cities seeking to host the Olympic Games and the composition of the sports programme for the Games.

Learn more about the IOC Athletes’ Commission here.