Russian official, ex Namibian sprinter to head IOC panels

Publish date:

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Russia's Olympic chief and former sprinter Frank Fredericks of Namibia were selected Wednesday to head key IOC commissions for the 2022 and 2024 Games.

Russia's Alexander Zhukov was appointed chairman of the 16-member coordination commission that will monitor preparations for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. Coordination commissions work closely with local organizers and make regular inspection visits to host cities to make sure preparations are on track.

Zhukov previously headed the IOC's evaluation commission assessing the bids for the 2022 Games. Four cities dropped out of that race, leaving only two candidates. Beijing defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan, in last year's vote to become the first city awarded both summer and winter games.

IOC President Thomas Bach said Zhukov's commission would focus on ''sustainability and environmental protection.''

Other members of Zhukov's panel include International Ski Federation president Gian-Franco Kasper and Dmitry Chernyshenko, who headed the organizing committee for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Fredericks, who won four silver medals in the 100 and 200 meters at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, will chair the evaluation panel for the 2024 Summer Games. The four candidates, which submitted their first formal bid files to the IOC last week, are Los Angeles, Rome, Paris and Budapest, Hungary.

Fredericks is a former chairman of the IOC athletes' commission. Among those serving on his 14-member panel will be Japanese Olympic Committee chief Tsunekazu Takeda, two-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe and the heads of the international triathlon, archery and badminton federations.

The evaluation commission will visit the bid cities and prepare a report for IOC members, who will vote on the host city in Lima, Peru, in September 2017

Bach also announced that Turkish IOC executive board member Ugur Erdener will chair a working group on the future of the Youth Olympic Games. Lillehammer, Norway, hosted the latest edition of the Winter Youth Games last week. Buenos Aires is scheduled to stage the next summer edition in 2018.

''The first four editions of the Youth Olympic Games were a great success, but nothing is so good that it cannot be made better,'' Bach said.

He added that the working group will ''have a wide-ranging debate about potential improvements and adjustments of the overall format of the games.''