There is no fixed timeline for replacing Ole Einar Bjørndalen on the IOC Athletes' Commission ©Getty Images

A process to replace Norway's Ole Einar Bjørndalen on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission continues to stall, with no individual set to be elected until next September at the earliest.

It is possible, however, that they could decide not to make a new appointment due to problems with the various candidates.

The 13-time Olympic medal winning biathlete, elected by athletes during Sochi 2014, announced his resignation in April after admitting he was unable to participate due to his decision to carry on competing up to Pyeongchang 2018.

A replacement has not been elected in the subsequent six months, despite new Commission chair Angela Ruggiero being keen to fill the maximum number of 15 places.

Indian badminton player Saina Nehwal, Argentinian basketball star Luis Scola, Egyptian modern pentathlete Aya Medany and Jordan taekwondo ace Nadin Dawani have all been appointed this week as non-IOC member representatives on the Commission to follow the five summer athletes elected during Rio 2016.

This means the fifth winter position to join former ice hockey player Ruggiero, British skeleton bobsledder Adam Pengilly, Chinese speed skater Yang Yang and Canadian ice hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser is the only vacancy still to be filled.

"The replacement process for Mr Ole Einar Bjørndalen’s position in the IOC Athletes’ Commission is still underway," an IOC spokesperson told insidethegames.

"The decision on Mr Bjørndalen’s replacement shall be communicated once finalised.

"The person replacing Mr Bjørndalen has to be elected as an IOC Member by the IOC Session upon proposal of the Executive Board and in consultation with the chair of the IOC Athlete Commission, the IOC Members Election Commission and the IOC Ethics Commission.

"Please note that there is no definite timeline for the replacement and that the replacement itself is not mandatory."

Swiss skier Didier Cuche is thought to have finished third in the initial vote for the Athletes' Commission in 2014 ©Getty Images
Swiss skier Didier Cuche is thought to have finished third in the initial vote for the Athletes' Commission in 2014 ©Getty Images

If they are to follow previous precedents the individual who finished in the next place in the initial vote would be invited to join.

Wickenheiser finished second in the Sochi 2014 vote, so was elected along with Bjørndalen, but the IOC did not release the order of the remaining candidates.

insidethegames understands that Swiss skier Didier Cuche, a former world champion from Neuchâtel, finished in third position.

Cuche, however, is still under investigation for a drink driving offence in June 2014 after the vehicle he was driving struck two striped road barrier posts.

The 41-year-old denies driving under the influence and claims the accident happened when he swerved to avoid striking an animal as he drove home at around midnight after visiting friends at a barbecue party.

A police hearing took place in September 2014, but no final verdict has been published.

It is thought unlikely that he would, therefore, pass an IOC Ethics Commission check until this is completed.

Next in line is thought to be Belarus' three-time Sochi 2014 biathlon champion Darya Domracheva.

Ironically, she has since married and had a baby with Bjørndalen.

Darya Domracheva is another contender for the IOC Athletes' Commission ©Getty Images
Darya Domracheva is another contender for the IOC Athletes' Commission ©Getty Images

She has also announced plans to return to competition following childbirth, so is also thought an unlikely contender.

Others in the election were Italian cross-country skier Pietro Piller-Cottrer and four Alpine skiers, Finland's Tanja Poutiainen, Czech Republic's Sarka Zahrobska, Bulgaria’s Kilian Albrecht and Croatia’s Ana Jelušić.

Belarus, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Croatia all currently do not have an active IOC member.

Jelušić is currently athlete relations project manager in the Sports Department of the IOC, where she liaises with the Athletes' Commission.

insidethegames understands that she would have to resign from this paid role in order to serve on the Commission.