Tricia Smith has become interim President of the Canadian Olympic Committee ©COC

Olympic medallist and International Rowing Federation (FISA) vice-president Tricia Smith will serve as interim President of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) following the resignation of Marcel Aubut, it has been announced.

Aubut, who had led the body on a permanent basis since 2010, formally resigned yesterday following the emergence of several sexual harrassment allegations against him, including from figures involved in Canadian sport.

This followed a vow last week to stand-down on a temporary base for the duration of an initial investigation.

Smith, a silver medallist in the coxless pairs at Los Angeles 1984, will take over with immediate effect, and will seek to play a key role in sustaining the running of the body ahead of next year's Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

She was elected as one of two COC vice-presidents in 2009 after earlier serving as the North American nation's Chef de Mission for the Rio 2007 Pan American Games.

A lawyer and businesswoman, the 58-year-old from Vancouver also won seven World Championship medals and a gold at the Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games in a 12-year stint within the Canadian national rowing team.

She was selected for four Olympics, although did not ultimately compete at Moscow 1980 due to the Canadian boycott.

In 2013, she became a FISA vice-president and also serves as a member of the Board of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"I live the values embodied in sport and take very seriously my role in helping spearhead change for the betterment of the Olympic movement in this country,"  she said in a statement.

"Along with my Board, our priority is to institute changes to ensure a safe environment for our athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers and all those in the Olympic family. 

"I am personally committed to making that family safer and healthier." 

Marcel Aubut announced his resignation following the emergence of several sexual harrassment allegations ©Getty Images
Marcel Aubut announced his resignation following the emergence of several sexual harrassment allegations ©Getty Images

Coming barely two months after he played such a high-profile role during the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, before which he invited International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach to Montreal for a COC Excellence Day, the allegations surrounding Aubut has taken the Olympic world by surprise.

Although the original allegation against him has reportedly been withdrawn because the complainent no longer wants to pursue it, another one has been opened as several other women have come forward.

Montreal lawyer Amelia Salehabadi-Fouques is among several women to have given interviews documenting alleged harrassment, including of a "forced kiss" during their first meeting as well as "sexually charged" comments, in addition to the cases being explored by the COC.

Former chief justice of the Quebec Superior Court, Francois Rolland, was hired to lead an initial investigation, with an independent third-party now being sought to help with the COC inquiry.

insidethegames understands Aubut will now automatically lose his place on the Executive Council of the Association of National Olympic Committees, where he is a representative for the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), as a result of his resignation.

It also ends any ambitions he had of standing as a PASO Presidential candidate next year.

It is not yet clear how long Smith will serve in an interim sense, or at what point permanent COC Presidential Elections will be held.

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October 2015: 
Marcel Aubut resigns permanently as Canadian Olympic Committee President as more allegations emerge
October 2015: Marcel Aubut steps down as Canadian Olympic Committee President due to sexual harassment allegations