Windhoek - Zimbabwe’s best swimmer yet, Kirsty Coventry, begins life after professional sport after being nominated to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes Commission.
The recent London 2012 Olympic Games were her swansong after a glittering career that saw her win a clutch of gold, silver and bronze medals at previous editions of the supreme global sporting event.
The IOC Athletes Commission is a grouping of active and former athletes who advocate for the welfare of their colleagues. They are tasked with ensuring Olympic Games are held in the best interests of athletes.
Coventry’s elevation to the commission means Southern Africa now has two representatives on the body, as she joins Namibian double Olympic silver medallist Frankie Fredericks.
Fredericks is the immediate past chairperson of the commission and now serves as an ordinary member.
The pair joins Slovakia’s Danka Bartekova (shooting), Australia’s James Tomkins (rowing) and France’s Tony Estanguet (canoeing) as new members.
The voting was not without controversy as two candidates were disqualified for breaking IOC rules against campaigning “too hard” for the positions.
Members of the commission serve for eight years.
At 28, Coventry has been Zimbabwe’s best Olympian – a status that Fredericks also holds in Namibia – and won the country’s first gold medal since the women’s hockey team’s triumph at Moscow 1980.