PASO Athlete Commissions Seek NOC Voting Power

(ATR) Athletes from Central, North and South America want a greater say in the decision-making processes of their NOCs.

(ATR) Athletes from Central, North and South America want a greater say in the decision-making processes of their National Olympic Committees.

Fifty-two athletes representing 39 countries in the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) gathered for two days in Miami, Florida this week for the inaugural PASO Athletes Forum. Athletes participated in lively discussions about athlete commissions within the Olympic Movement and how they can be more involved.

PASO president Julio Maglione tells Around the Rings the delegates created a proposal that would create an Athletes Commission (AC) at every NOC in PASO and that the president of each commission should have voting power within the NOC.

"We understood that it was very important that athletes of our continent gather to contrive in everything they understood that was convenient for them to have better performances and more participation in decision-making of our organizations," he tells ATR.

Maglione says the inaugural forum was designed to facilitate the Olympic Agenda 2020 principles that place the athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement.

"Athletes are at the core of the Olympic Movement. PASO shares that concept and supports it," he says. "We are trying to assist in all aspects of the Agenda 2020 set by the IOC and its President Thomas Bach."

Maglione says PASO also provided each NOC with unprecedented financial support to bolster athletes’ preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympics this August.

"PASO has already collaborated with each Olympic Committee the way it had never done before, with $200,000 for each NOC intended only for athletes’ preparations for these Olympic Games in Rio," he tells ATR.

The forum was hosted by the United States Olympic Committee from May 24-25.

"Through this event, we hope to give athletes the tools to make an even greater impact on the Olympic Movement, both in the Americas and around the world," USOC chief executive officer Scott Blackmun said in a statement.

Speakers at the forum included Maglione, IOC AC chair Claudia Bokel, ANOC AC president Barbara Kendall, WADA AC chief Beckie Scott and U.S. IOC member Angela Ruggiero.

"As the first Athlete Forum ever held in the Americas, it was a good opportunity for athletes to get together with their peers, exchange experiences, receive relevant information to improve their National Athlete Commissions and improve their communication with the PASO Athlete Commission," PASO secretary general Jimena Saldana tells ATR.

Maglione tells ATR the first Athlete Forum was a great success and that PASO will hold the event every other year with the next host yet to be determined.

Written by Kevin Nutley

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