Two IOC members leave

(ATR) IOC Executive Board decides on North Korea quota places, welcomes the Olympic Refugee Team for Tokyo 2020




(ATR) The IOC Executive Board accepts the resignations of two IOC members.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and athlete representative Kikkan Randall of the United States are both stepping down for personal reasons, according to IOC spokesperson Mark Adams.

Prince Frederik, 53, had been an IOC member since 2009.

Randall, 38, was an IOC member through her election to the IOC Athletes’ Commission at PyeongChang 2018.

Randall, who Adams says has asked to remain as a member of the Sustainability and Legacy Commission, wrote to IOC president Thomas Bach to explain her decision.

"Unfortunate and unforeseen personal circumstances had made it difficult for me to contribute the energy and attention necessary to fulfill my IOC role at a level consistent to my values. I wish you and the IOC all the best in continuing to inspire the world through the positive values of Olympism," she said.

Randall is an activist for healthy and active lifestyles and a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed about three months after winning a gold medal in cross-country skiing at PyeongChang 2018. Her doctors cleared her in January 2019 following chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

The two departures puts the number of IOC members at 101.

Adams, in a press briefing following the first of three days of remote meetings of the IOC Executive Board, said details of possible new IOC members will be presented on Thursday by Princess Anne, chair of the Members Election Commission.

He also revealed that the sporting quota places won by athletes from North Korea for Tokyo 2020 may immediately be re-allocated by the International Federations involved.

This EB decision was taken in the interest of athletes who are the next in line and cannot wait any longer in their preparations.

North Korea said in April it was not sending a team to Tokyo for the Games. James Macleod, IOC director of NOC relations, said that the IOC has been in discussions with North Korea to convince the country to participate but without success.

"There’s no specific moment where they say they’re not coming, it’s a part of a whole discussion that we’re having with them," Macleod says. "But today we did need to re-allocate those four places for fairness for the other athletes."

Much of the briefing covered Tuesday’s announcement of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020. The 29 member team, 19 men and 10 women, is almost triple in size from the 10 athletes who comprised the initial one at Rio 2016.

Two of the athletes spoke during the briefing.

Yusra Mardini, a swimmer originally from Syria who competed with the inaugural Refugee team at Rio 2016, says nothing has really changed on the swimming side for her as she has continued training hard and is "very happy to be a part" of another Olympics.

The big change has come outside the pool.

"Since then (Rio 2016) I have a huge role. I’d say my dream is not only my dream right now. I have lots of people watching what I’m doing so it’s kind of a huge responsibility. I have a voice to represent millions around the world so this is a pleasure to me," Mardini says.

Abdullah Sediqi, originally from Afghanistan, is competing in taekwondo at Tokyo 2020. He faced the same issues as any other athlete working toward Olympic qualification.

"It was not easy to do good preparation for the Olympics because we had no competition and we could not go to training at our center. It was not easy. But we just keep hoping and try our best to be part of the Olympics one day."

Adams says he will be handling the media briefing on Wednesday, with IOC president Thomas Bach planning to attend the one on Thursday at the end of the three-day EB meeting.

Homepage photo: ATR

Written by Gerard Farek