Kirsty cements her position in IOC

Kirsty Coventry

ZIMBABWE’S swimming icon Kirsty Coventry cemented her status as one of the most influential sports personalities in the world when she was elected to the International Olympic Committee Executive Board in Mumbai, India, on Monday. 

This came a few weeks after Coventry, who is now the Minister of Sport in Zimbabwe, was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States. 

And on Monday, the seven-time Olympic swimming medallist was all smiles when she was elected as one of the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board members, making her one of the most influential if not powerful sports personalities in the world. 

According to insidethegames and reports from Mumbai, Prince Feisal Al Hussein was re-elected unopposed to the IOC Executive Board, with the vacant place taken by Zimbabwe’s Coventry. 

The four-year terms of Jordanian official Prince Feisal and Morocco’s Nawal El Moutawakel both came to an end at the IOC Session in the Indian city of Mumbai, but the latter was not standing for re-election.

Elections for the two open positions were held separately at the end of the second day, with Coventry withdrawing from the first vote to enable Prince Feisal to secure a second term with 71 votes for and eight against, with three abstentions. 

Prince Feisal has been an IOC member since 2010. 

In addition to his Executive Board role, he is head of the Working Group on Safe-guarding and deputy chair of the Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commission. 

He thanked the Session for its confidence and vowed to “do my best to do you all proud”. 

Coventry was unopposed for the second Executive Board position, elected by 71 votes to nine, with two abstentions. 

It marks a return to the Executive Board for the Zimbabwean Sports Minister, who held an ex-officio position on it from 2018 to 2021 through her role as chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. 

Coventry is also chair of the Coordination Commissions for the Brisbane 2032 Olympics and the Dakar 2026 Youth Olympics, and heading up the Games Optimisation Working Group. 

She had been tipped as a likely contender to succeed Thomas Bach as IOC President in 2025, although some members at the Session have pushed for a controversial Olympic Charter amendment which would allow the incumbent to run again. 

Coventry said she looks forward to “continuing our work together”. 

Seven members were re-elected to a fresh eight-year term in a bloc vote, although four of those will have that shortened due to rules on age limits.

El Moutawakel and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg were first elected in 1998 and Monaco’s Prince Albert II in 1995, with all three set to continue through to the end of 2031. 

Ukraine’s Valeriy Borzov can serve until 2029, Sweden’s Gunilla Lindberg until 2027, Syed Shahid Ali of Pakistan until 2026 and United World Wrestling President Nenad Lalović of Serbia until 2028. 

They were collectively re-elected by 79 votes in favour and none against, with four abstentions. 

Members elected in the 20th century can serve until the age of 80 and those in the 21st century until 70. 

Dominican Republic’s Luis Mejía Oviedo and Argentina’s Gerardo Werthein received four-year extensions to their terms beyond the age limits, which can be applied to up to five members at any one time. 

Mejia Oviedo had been set to cease membership at the end of this year having turned 70, but is now due to serve through to 2027.

This was due to his role as President of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation, and confirmed by a margin of 60 votes to 14 with nine abstentions. 

Mejia Oviedo was one of the three members who yesterday called for an Olympic Charter amendment to allow Bach to extend his Presidency beyond the currently permitted 12 years. 

Werthein had been set to lose his membership at the end of 2025 having turned 70, but his roles as chair of the Boards of Directors of Olympic Broadcasting Services SA and SL and chair of the Technology and Technical Innovation Commission led to the Session approving an extension until 2029 by 64 votes to 14, with five abstentions.

The Session also re-elected Patricia O’Brien, the Ambassador of Ireland to Italy, for a third and final term on the IOC Ethics Commission with 77 votes in favour, none against and six abstentions.


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