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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Olympics: U.S. hockey's Ruggiero aiming to become IOC member

Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland Four-time Olympic hockey player Angela Ruggiero of the United States is among nine current and former athletes standing for election to become members of the IOC in Vancouver next month.

The Harvard-educated Ruggiero is an alternate captain for the U.S. women's team, which won gold at the 1998 Nagano Games.

Antoine Deneriaz, the retired French skier who won downhill gold at Turin four years ago, is also running for one of two spots on the IOC athletes' commission.

Other candidates include Slovakian hockey player Miroslav Satan, now a Boston Bruins winger who won a Stanley Cup title with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season; Jacqui Cooper of Australia, a three-time Olympian and former world champion in aerial freestyle skiing, and Elene Gedevanishvili, a 20-year-old figure skater from Georgia who would become the youngest IOC member.

The others are: Mongolian cross-country skier Khurelbaatar Khash-Erdene; Petra Majdic of Slovenia, the current cross-country skiing World Cup sprints champion; British skeleton racer Adam Pengilly; and Italian speed skater Ippolito Sanfratello, who won team pursuit gold in Turin.

All athletes competing at the Vancouver Games can vote. The results will be announced Feb. 24. Members of the athletes' commission automatically become voting members of the IOC for the length of their term.

The winning candidates will replace Pernilla Wiberg of Sweden and Manuela Di Centa of Italy, whose eight-year terms have ended.

Ruggiero, 30, is seeking to become the third IOC member from the U.S., joining Jim Easton and Anita DeFrantz.

A lack of American influence within the Olympic movement was cited as one reason for Chicago's failure to secure the 2016 Summer Games, which went to Rio de Janeiro.

The IOC said Wednesday that it currently has 112 members, including 17 women. Wiberg and Di Centa will step down at the end of the IOC session in Vancouver, reducing the female membership.

Besides the athletes' spots, six candidates have already been proposed for full membership of the IOC in a poll of existing members at Vancouver.

They include three women: China's Yang Yang, a double Olympic gold medalist in short track speed skating; Maria Casada Estupinan, the Spanish head of the International Triathlon Union; and Dagmawit Girmay Berhane, an official of the Ethiopian national Olympic committee.

The three men proposed are Prince Faisal of Jordan, International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid of Ireland, and Barry Maister, secretary general of the New Zealand Olympic committee and a former gold medalist in field hockey.