February 25, 2014 13:20
Figure skating star Kim Yu-na met International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach just before the end of the Sochi Winter Olympics. The IOC scheduled the meeting to discuss ways of developing the Youth Olympic Games.
The inaugural Summer Youth Olympics was held in Singapore in 2010 and the Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012.
Also at the meeting were three other Olympic athletes who competed in the Innsbruck Games.
But speculation now focuses on whether Kim is getting closer to her goal of a seat on the Athletes' Commission of the IOC.
The Olympic Charter stipulates that the IOC consists of no more than 115 members, of whom at most 15 are chosen among Olympic athletes. The rest are 70 individual members, 15 from national Olympic committees and another 15 from international sports federations. As of February, the IOC had 107 members.
Twelve out of the 15 Athletes’ Commission members are chosen by vote -- eight are chosen from Summer Olympic athletes and four from the Winter Olympics -- and they serve eight-year terms. In order to prevent all members from ending their tenures at the same time, four Summer and two Winter Olympians are chosen each time. The remaining three are appointed by the IOC president.
To qualify for a seat on the Athletes' Commission, candidates must have won medals in the latest or previous Olympics. Each country gets to nominate only one athlete.
Korea already has Moon Dae-sung on the commission, who joined in 2008 as he won gold in taekwondo at the Athens Games in 2004. His eight-year term ends in 2016.
Already, Korea's highly decorated female lifter Jang Mi-ran and Jin Jong-oh, a three-time Olympic gold medalist in shooting, have said they want to try for Moon's slot in 2016.
This means Kim could vie for an IOC slot in 2018 only if both Jang and Jin drop their bids or fail to garner enough votes in 2016.
But some have managed to stretch the possibilities. Chinese badminton star Li Lingwei, considered one of the greatest players ever in that sport, joined the IOC as an "individual member" in 2012, when her decades of service to the sport and other Olympic committees were finally recognized.
Barbara Kendall, a yachtswoman from New Zealand, was chosen as an IOC athlete member in 2011, appointed by the president for her work in various Olympic committees since 2005. But she was later changed to an "individual member."
Kim has racked up credits by working as a goodwill ambassador for the Olympics since the 1st Innsbruck Youth Olympic Games in 2012. After her retirement, Kim still has many years to realize her dream of joining the IOC.
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