Zagreb, July 17, 2020 - In my work, I will strive to promote Olympic values and commitment to the Olympic movement - said Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, thanking for the trust shown after becoming the fourth person and the first woman from Croatia to be elected a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Until recently the Croatian President, Ms, Kitarović earned this prestigious status with convincing electoral majority (86 votes in favor and 3 against) at the 136th session of the IOC, held in a form of video conference.
Prior to that, the Croats in the IOC membership were the "father of our Olympism" FranjoBučar from 1920 until his death in 1946, then Boris Bakrač from 1960 to 1987 (with two more years of honorary membership) and AntunVrdoljak as active member from 1995 to 2011 and then as honorary member of the IOC until the present day. Let us remind you that in early June, Grabar-Kitarović was directly nominated for IOC membership by the IOC President Thomas Bach as an individual candidate.
"I am extremely honored to be a member of the International Olympic Committee. This is not only my personal success, but also a recognition of all the achievements of Croatian sports and excellent results of Croatian athletes, who represent our homeland in the world as a nation of great talents and hardworking people, consistently promoting the principles and values of the Olympic movement. Sport plays a key role in the fight against racism and hate speech, unites our common goals, values and hopes, and spreads optimism and belief that effort, work and other fundamental human values are rewarded with fair competition and success the world recognizes” – said Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in the official statement on the occasion of the election to the IOC membership.
Cuban Marie de la Caridad Colon Ruenes, Saudi Princess Reeme Bandar Al-Saud and Mongolian Battushig Batbold, all as individual members, and legendary British athlete Sebastian Coe ex officio as President of the World Athletics Federation were also elected to the IOC membership. The IOC VicePresidents (Australian John D. Coates and Singaporean Ser Miang) were also elected, and the IOC Executive Board (Filipina Mikaela Cojuangco Jaworski and Argentine Gerardo Werthein) counts two new members as well.
Congratulating the former Head of state on the election in the IOC, the President of the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) Zlatko Mateša said:
- Having an IOC member is a big thing for every country and I have no doubt that Ms. Grabar-Kitarović, like her predecessor Antun Vrdoljak, will contribute to the development of Olympism, both internationally and in her homeland Croatia.
In his introductory speech, the Head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, called the 136th session of the IOC historic, because due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, the first one so far held as a video conference. Bach also announced his candidacy for a new presidential term in next year's IOC elections. Numerous other topics were covered at the IOC's five-hour video conference - from re-scheduled Tokyo Olympics, the financial and sponsorship aspects of that re-scheduling, presentation of future events, fight against doping, etc. The global safety and health situation influenced the unanimous decision of IOC members on prolonging the Youth Olympics in Senegal from 2020 to 2026. The 136th session also marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Juan Antonio Samaranch, the longtime IOC head who changed the world Olympism. (COC/VK)
The President of the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) Zlatko Mateša and Secretary General Josip Čop sent congratulations to the new member of the IOC:
Dear Ms. Grabar-Kitarović,
Your appointment as member of the IOC is a great honor for both the Croatian Olympic Committee and Croatian sportws in general. We have no doubt that as the first Croatian member of the IOC, and following in the footsteps of deserving predecessors that held the same position, you will contribute to the development of Olympism and the well-being of sports, both internationally and in the homeland of Croatia. On behalf of the entire Croatian Olympic family and on our own behalf, we congratulate you from the bottom of our hearts on your admission to the IOC membership, with faith in successful and constructive cooperation in our joint Olympic mission!