Veteran Namibian sprinter Frank Fredericks, Czech javelin world record holder and defending Olympic champion Jan Zelezny, Moroccan 1500m OIympic champion and multiple world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj, and Egyptian swimmer Rania Elwani have been elected to the Athletes' Commission of the International Olympic Committee for a term of eight years by their peers at the Athens Olympic Games.
Fredericks, Zelezny, El Guerrouj and Elwani will also serve as IOC members during this period.
Anita L DeFrantz, chairwoman of the Election Committee and IOC member, announced this today.
The election was held over the past 15 days in the Olympic Village in Athens. A total of 5,787 athletes, or 54.5 per cent of all eligible voters, chose from among 30 candidates from as many countries. Participation was higher than four years ago in Sydney, where 47.2 per cent of the athletes voted, the IOC's Olympic Games newsletter reported.
All the candidate athletes had to be presented by their respective national olympic committees. To be eligible for election, they had to have participated either in the Olympic Games in Sydney or Athens, and never been found guilty of a doping offence in their sports career.
Fredericks was elected with 1,849 votes. He was followed by Zelezny with 1,411 votes, El Guerrouj with 1,260 and Elwani with 1,186 votes. The new members will be officially introduced at the closing ceremony of the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens.
The Athletes' Commission is composed of 19 members, of whom eight are summer sports athletes elected by their peers at the Games of the Olympiad, four winter sports athletes elected by their peers at the Olympic Winter Games; and seven are athletes appointed by the IOC president to ensure a balance in terms of gender, sport, and region.
In addition, a World Olympians Association representative and an International Paralympic Committee representative are ex-officio members.
The Athletes' Commission was created on October 27, 1981, to serve as a link between active athletes and the IOC. It is composed of active and retired athletes, holds at least one meeting each year, and meets regularly with the IOC executive board, to which it makes recommendations.
The commission also forms working groups to work in liaison with the organising committees of the Olympic Games to ensure that athletes' needs are taken care of.