By Tom Degun at the Main Press Centre on the Olympic Park in London

Claudia Bokel_to_head_IOC_Athletes_CommissionJuly 22 - Germany's Claudia Bokel has been elected as the new chair of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission meaning that she will now be promoted to the IOC's ruling Executive Board.

The 38-year-old former épée fencer, who won a silver medal at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, was elected here in London by her fellow Commission members after coming out on top in a three-horse race that also featured Britain's skeleton athlete Adam Pengilly and Russia's four-time Olympic swimming champion Alexander Popov.

Following the proposal from the Commission, Bokel was formerly appointed for a two-year term by IOC President Jacques Rogge as she replaces outgoing chair Frank Fredericks of Namibia.

IOC members_Alexander_Popov__Frank_FredericksIOC members Frank Fredericks and Alexander Popov

"I am humbled by the trust my colleagues have put in me and want to continue the successful work of our previous chair-people," Bokel said.

"I am deeply committed to the topics that are important to us as athletes: the Olympic Games, the fight against doping, the environment, women and sport, creating a level playing field for all athletes and the Athlete Career Programme.

"The latter is particularly close to my heart and when I eventually reach the end of my term I would like to look back and see that this programme has grown stronger through greater outreach activities and job placements for athletes."

Fredericks has served as chairman of the IOC Athletes' Commission since 2008 but admitted he was happy to be handing over to Bokel.

"It was a great honour for me to chair this important Commission and represent the voice of athletes in the IOC Executive Board for the past four years," he said.

"From my experience, we can really make a big impact in a number of areas and serve our peers.

"I wish my successor all the best for her new mandate and am sure she will be a great advocate for the athletes in the Olympic Movement."

Claudia Bokel_at_the_123rd_IOC_sessionClaudia Bokel addresses dignitaries during the 123rd IOC session last year

Bokel's election is no major surprise after she was voted onto the IOC Athletes' Commission at Beijing 2008 and became its vice-chair in 2010.

She has also formerly served as the athlete representative of the German Fencing Federation while she has previously chaired the German Athletes Commission and the European Olympic Committees Athletes Commission.

The IOC Athletes' Commission itself serves as a consultative body and is the link between active athletes and the IOC.

It is composed of 12 athletes with eight Summer Olympians and four Winter Olympians elected for eight years by the athletes participating in the Olympics.

London 2012 will see four new members join at the end of the Games because from July 16 to August 8, all athletes participating in the Olympics are eligible to vote for four of the 21 candidates running for election to the Athletes' Commission.

Each voter will be asked to select four candidates from four different sports, to ensure a varied representation from the Olympic sports programme, with the results to be announced on August 9 at the Village Media Centre in the Olympic Village.

After approval by the IOC Session on August 12, the four elected athletes will become IOC members for an eight-year term of office.

They will replace current Athletes' Commission members Fredericks, Hicham El Guerrouj, Rania Elwani and Jan Zelezny who are all finishing their terms of office.

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