Two Canadians Among Fourteen IOC Nominees

Two Canadians Among Fourteen IOC Nominees

Toronto’s Mayor Mel Lastman called it “fantastic”. He was referring to the nomination of Paul Henderson, head of the International Sailing Federation and leader of Toronto’s failed 1996 Olympic bid; and Bob Steadward, president of the International Paralympic Committee, member of the Order of Canada and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

Lastman said, “they can’t vote for Toronto because they’re Canadian, but they can sure help us a lot. They’re talking to other members and boosting Toronto and spreading the word about Toronto, how great Toronto is. Our chances (for the Olympics) are even greater with five people boosting Canada”, said Lastman.

John Bitove Jr., head of TO-Bid said “it shows how strong we are internationally for a country of only 30 million.”

After hearing the news, Henderson said “every time a Canadian gets a position like this it’s a great honour for Canada” and called it “the second best day” in his life after the one in 1964 when he marched into the Olympic stadium representing Canada.

IOC vice president Dick Pound of Montreal told The Star newspaper that the Canadian nominations are “further recognition that Canada is a very active player in the Olympic movement”.

From a list of 48 candidates, the IOC executive board nominated eight leaders of national Olympic committees and six heads of international sports federations. It should just be a formality when the full IOC submits the 14 names to a vote at its September 11-13 general session in Sydney, Australia. A simple majority is all that is needed for approval.

New members get eight-year terms and lose their IOC seats if they reach the new age limit of 70 or if their term as sports administrator ends during that time.

The executive board expressed its disappointment that there were no women among the 48 candidates and assigned vice president Anita DeFrantz to look into it. There are now 13 female members of the IOC.

If all the nominations go through at the September session, Canada, Switzerland and Italy will each have five IOC members, and the United States will have four. Canada has never had more than three IOC members.

Eight athletes will be elected by their peers to the IOC in Sydney in September.