Kirsty Coventry is the new chair of the IOC Athletes' Commission ©IOC

Zimbabwean swimmer Kirsty Coventry has been confirmed as chair of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission here today.

She replaces United States' ice hockey player Angela Ruggiero and becomes the body's third successive female leader.

Slovakian shooter Danka Bartekova has been chosen as vice-chair to replace France's Tony Estanguet.

Both elections were uncontested at a joint meeting of the IOC Executive Board and Athletes' Commission here today.

Coventry, 34, is a seven-time Olympic medallist who won the 200 metres backstroke crowns in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

She is also a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Foundation Board and the athlete representative on the Board of the new Independent Testing Authority, as well as a vice-president of the International Surfing Association.

She follows Ruggiero and German fencer Claudia Bokel as the third successive female chair and also becomes the first from Africa after Namibia's Frankie Fredericks.

Danka Bartekova is the new IOC Athletes' Commission vice-chair ©Getty Images
Danka Bartekova is the new IOC Athletes' Commission vice-chair ©Getty Images

Ruggiero is due to stand down following the end of her term this week along with Britain's Adam Pengilly and China's Yang Yang.

Six winter candidates are standing for two positions at Pyeongchang 2018: Italian luge legend Armin Zöggeler, cross-country skiers Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen and Kikkan Randall, from Norway and the United States respectively, Spanish skeleton athlete Ander Mirambell, Finnish ice hockey player Emma Terho and Chinese speed skater Zhang Hong.

Estanguet still has two years on the Commission but was persuaded not to focus on the top job in order to prioritise his role as President of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee.

Bartekova, 33, a skeet bronze medallist at London 2012, also has two years remaining until her term ends but, as an active athlete, she could potentially stand again for a fresh term at Tokyo 2020.

IOC Athletes' Commission members met with the IOC Executive Board today ©IOC
IOC Athletes' Commission members met with the IOC Executive Board today ©IOC

“The main objectives I would like to focus on are the implementation of this great strategy that we have all worked so hard to bring together,” said Coventry after her appointment was confirmed. 

“We also need to ensure we continue to improve and be proactive with our communications. 

"This will help us to build a stronger global athlete community that is truly reflective of the athlete representatives.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Angela for the amazing work she has done. 

"Her commitment, drive and passion to push the Athletes’ Commission forward have been outstanding. 

"I know all of the Commission members will join me as we offer her our full support in the important work she has to do in Pyeongchang over the final few weeks of her term.”