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  • NextGen 2020 - More Women Leading NOCs


    12/30/19

    Tricia Smith (COC)
    (ATR) With 206 National Olympic Committees in the world, women claim few leadership posts. Just over a dozen are president. Despite the low numbers by gender, the women leading NOCs are influencers and clearly part of the next generation of Olympic sport leadership.

    In the Americas, Susanne Lyons is in her second year as chair of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Sarah Hirshland is CEO and secretary general. It is the only NOC with women in both positions.

    Tricia Smith of the Canadian Olympic Committee is in her third year leading the NOC. Now she’s also an IOC member.

    The depth of women sports leaders in the Americas extends to the Caribbean. Sara Rosario is NOC president in Puerto Rico. Veda Bruno-Victor is the longtime secretary general for Grenada. Bermuda is led by Judy Simons.

    In Mexico, ex-Pan Am Sports secretary general Jimena Saldana continues to be involved with sport matters and is one of the best connected individuals from the Americas.

    Sara Rosario (IOC / Christophe Moratal)
    Female NOC leaders in Africa have been recognized with IOC memberships. Lydia Nsekera of Burundi, an IOC member since 2009, is the veteran of the group. She now leads the IOC Commission on Women in Sport. Aïcha Garad Ali from Djibouti has served for seven years on the IOC.

    Newcomers include Matlohang Moiloa-Ramoqopo of Lesotho, Filomena Fortes of Cape Verde, and Odette Assembe Engoulou of Cameroon. All three are members of the IOC class of 2019.

    Felicite Rwemarika has been an advisor to the Rwanda NOC and an IOC member since 2018.

    Tricia Smith (COC)
    Mustapha Berraf, head of the Algerian Olympic Committee and new president of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, was elected to the IOC in 2019. He faces questions from some NOCs about the finances of the 2019 African Games.

    In Europe, not so many new faces among the ranks of NOC leaders. Sarah Keane in Ireland is steering her NOC past the complications of her predecessor, Patrick Hickey. He remains self-suspended from the IOC over charges still pending in Brazil relating to Olympic ticket sales in 2016. Keane seems a likely candidate to join the IOC if Hickey steps down.

    In Asia, Yasuhiro Yamashita -- the new Japan NOC president -- is the big change on the continent. He’s scheduled to join the IOC in January.

    Reported by Ed Hula. For general comments or questions, click here.

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