Pengilly and Ruggiero elected as members of IOC

Thursday, 25 February 2010

By Duncan Mackay in Vancouver

February 24 - Adam Pengilly (pictured), the world bob skeleton silver medallist, has become the fourth Briton to join the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after being elected, along with the United States ice hockey gold medallist Angela Ruggiero, as a member of the Athletes’ Commission.


They were each elected by their peers during the Olympics here and will serve for a period of eight years.

Pengilly joins the Princess Royal, Sir Craig Reedie and Sir Philip Craven, the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), as members of the IOC.

Ruggiero, meanwhile, becomes the third US member of the IOC,alongside Anita DeFrantz and James Easton.

The announcement was fittingly made today at Vancouver’s Olympic Village by DeFrantz, the chair of the Election Committee.

The election was held over the past 19 days in the Olympic Villages in Vancouver and in Whistler.
 
Pengilly, a 32-year-old from Bath who finished second in last year's World Championships, was elected with 615 votes.

He had been hampered by an injury during these Games and finished a disappointed 18th.

But being elected onto the IOC was a massive consolation prize for Pengilly.

He said: “Clearly I'm very excited to be representing the world’s athletes, and in particular winter athletes.

"It is a real privilege to be elected by my peers and I will represent them to the very best of my ability."

Among Pengilly's manifesto was ensuring that winter and summer sports are treated equally, a fairer drug testing around the world and ensuring that athletes families have access to watch them compete in the Olympics.

He said: "I was elected on a mandate to strive for real equality on many levels in sport. I will work for equality between summer and winter sports, and to ensure all athletes face the same demands and requirements.

"I will push for the ADAMS anti-doping system to apply to all sports and all countries.

"I aim to work together with the IOC and International Federations to create and develop programmes for smaller nations so that there is no gulf between them and the top nations at Olympic Games.

"I would also like to try and ensure that the families of athletes, who have helped and supported them so much, have proper access to enjoy the Olympic experience.

"To achieve this, I will discuss re-introducing the host family programme.

"Obviously, as a British athlete, it is a special time to be elected. I’m sure London 2012 will be fantastic and I look forward to being involved in many ways as a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission."
 
Pengilly was followed with 605 votes by Ruggiero (pictured), a 30-year-old from California who was a member of the US team that won the Olympic gold medal in Nagano in 1998, the silver in Salt Lake City four years later and the bronze in Turin at the last Games.

She is guaranteed another medal at these Olympics after reaching Saturday's final, when the US will face the host nation Canada.



But she is probably better known in the US for appearing on the top-rated television The Apprentice in 2007 hosted by Donald Trump, at the end of which she was offered a job by the multi-billionaire despite being fired.

Ruggiero turned it down, however, to continue pursuing her hockey career.

The two new members will replace Pernilla Wiberg and Manuela Di Centa, who were elected to the Athletes’ Commission at the Games in Salt Lake City in 2002, and have come to the end of their term of office.

Ruggiero said: "It is a tremendous honor to be voted by my fellow Olympians to become a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission.

"I want to thank everyone who has put their faith and trust in me to represent them. 

" I will do all I can to be a good ambassador of the Olympic Movement and represent athlete issues to the IOC - not just from North America - but from around the world."

Pengilly and Ruggiero will be officially introduced at the Closing Ceremony of the Games on Sunday (February 28).   

Some 1,965 athletes - 75.3 per cent of all eligible voters - chose from among nine candidates from as many countries.  

DeFrantz stated: "The athletes are at the centre of everything we do, and the Commission ensures that their voice is heard in all important decisions taken by the IOC.

"The two new members can make a valuable contribution to the work of this important body." 

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz

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