Former rivals unite

Ruggiero to chair IOC Athletes' Commission, joins Wickenheiser

02.08.2016
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IOC Athletes' Commission Chair Angela Ruggiero (left) and Member Hayley Wickenheiser (right) will serve as the voice of athletes within the Olympic Movement. Photo: Matthew Manor / HHOF-IIHF Images

RIO – American ice hockey Olympic Medallist and IIHF Athletes’ Committee Member Angela Ruggiero was elected as the new chair of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Athletes’ Commission, replacing outgoing chair Claudia Bokel. 

IOC President Thomas Bach officially appointed Ruggiero during Monday’s joint meeting between the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the IOC executive board, following a vote by the members of the commission.

Angela Ruggiero is the current Vice-Chair of the Commission, which acts as the voice of the athletes within the IOC and the Olympic Movement, and is a former ice hockey player who has played more games for Team USA than any other man or woman.

“Congratulations to Angela Ruggiero on her successful election,” said President Bach. We will welcome her to the IOC Executive Board. I am sure that, with her determination and her great experience, she will make a huge contribution. The EB will be very happy to engage with her and all the members of the Athletes’ Commission for the sake of all the athletes. I would already like to thank Claudia Bokel for the great work she has done, and we offer her our full support in the important work she has to do in these final few weeks of her term of office.”

After the meeting, Angela Ruggiero said: “I am grateful for the trust my fellow IOC Athletes’ Commission members have put in me and my work. It is an important time within the Olympic Movement and our Commission has a great responsibility. I will make sure our voices aren’t just heard, but that they are effective and that we empower athletes around the world to do the same.”

Bokel congratulated Ruggiero, saying: “It has been such an honour to represent the athletes’ voice over the past eight years. I have had the pleasure to work with an amazing group of people within the IOC Athletes’ Commission and my colleagues on the IOC Executive Board. I have worked with Angela Ruggiero as the Vice-Chair over the past two years, and I am convinced she will continue to be the voice of the athletes within the IOC Executive Board and the Olympic Movement. I wish her and the IOC Athletes’ Commission the best of luck for the future.”

Ruggiero will be the second ice hockey player to join the Athletes’ Commission. Also present on the Commission as a Member is Hayley Wickenheiser, a four-time gold medallist with Team Canada and one of the most decorated Canadian Olympians of all-time. Wickenheiser joined the Commission in 2016 following the Sochi Olympics, where she won her record fourth gold medal with Team Canada.

The IOC Athletes’ Commission is currently composed of 22 members who are past or active Olympians. They are the voice of the athletes within the Olympic Movement, and are tasked with defending their interests. As the link between the athletes and the IOC, the Commission members are involved in all key IOC activities, including the process to evaluate candidate cities seeking to host the Olympic Games, the composition of the sports programme for the Games and the fight against doping.

During Rio 2016, members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission will be present in the IOC Space located at the entrance to the Main Dining Hall in the Olympic Villages. They will serve as contact points for all athletes participating in the Games should they have any question, comments or concerns. Assisting athletes in numerous ways, the members will, for instance, help them with their career planning via the IOC’s Athletes Career Programme; spread the word about injury prevention thanks to the IOC’s innovative and free Get Set smartphone app; or introduce them to the Olympic Athletes’ Hub.

Reflecting the Olympic Agenda 2020 goal of placing the athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement and strengthening the support to athletes, the Athletes’ Commission serves as a link between athletes and the IOC. Its goal is to ensure that the athletes’ viewpoint remains at the heart of the Olympic Movement decisions. The Commission members are involved in many key IOC activities, including: the process for evaluating Candidate Cities seeking to host the Olympic Games; the composition of the sports programme for the Games; and the protection of clean sport.

Another important task of the Commission is to help oversee the elections for the IOC Athletes’ Commission taking place during the Olympic Games. From 24 July until 17 August, all athletes participating in Rio 2016 are encouraged to vote and elect four of their peers from four different sports as representatives on the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Four seats are available, as current members Claudia Bokel, Dae Sung Moon, Alexander Popov and Yumilka Ruiz Luaces are finishing their terms of office after eight years.

With files from International Olympic Committee

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