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BUENOS AIRES, September 10. (Itar-Tass) – Influence of Russia’s Olympic Committee (ROC) within the Olympic movement is to increase, ROC president Alexander Zhukov told Itar-Tass immediately after he was welcomed within the ranks of the International Olympic Committee during the body’s 125th session in Buenos Aires. Zhukov was voted in with 63 for and 29 against; two members of the IOC refrained from casting their votes.
Russian sports official said that “IOC membership is, primarily, a chance to influence decisions which are taken by the International Olympic Committee. He emphasized that the “ROC is one of the most influential ones in terms of the number of athletes and their performance, hence it’s important that the Russian Olympic Committee is increasing its presence in the IOC.” Zhukov added that talking about his first actions after being elected is not applicable as he was already actively involved with the IOC, in particular, working with the International Affairs Commission.
Zhukov was elected to IOC members along with eight other candidates: Paul Tergat (Kenya), Larry Probst (USA), Octavian Morariu (Romania), Bernard Rajzman (Brazil), Dagmawit Berhane (Ethiopia), Camiel Eurlings (Netherlands), Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski (Philippines) and Stefan Holm (Sweden).
The number of Russian IOC members have increased to four as Alexander Zhukov officially joined ROC honorary president Vitaly Smirnov, President of Russia’s Tennis Federation Shamil Tarphishev and four time Olympic champion Alexander Popov. Smirnov’s term expires in 2015; Popov’s in 2016 and Tarpishev’s – in 2028.
"It is good news for Russia, a positive prerequisite for the Sochi Olympics to be a success, and offers Russia a chance to have its own say when choosing the next country which will host the Olympic Games, as well as in the settlement of other global problems in big sport," said honorary president of the Russian Olympic Committee Leonid Tyagachev, speaking to Itar-Tass by telephone.
The election of Aleksander Zhukov to the International Olympic Committee is another victory of our sport, Tyagachev said. He reminded of days when he was president of the Russian Olympic Committee and used to tell his U.S. colleagues that the heads of the national Olympic committees of such countries as Russia and the United States, which play such a tangible role in world sport, should by all means have their representatives in the IOC.
"I am glad that the message has finally been heard, and that the head of a National Olympic Committee was offered an opportunity to be elected to the IOC," Tyagachev said. He pointed to his own contribution to Russia's success in the international sports arena.
“It was to a certain extent thanks to my own vision of Aleksander Zhukov, who supervised sport for eight years as the Vice-premier of the Russian government, which helped elect Zhukov President of the Russian Olympic Committee,” Tyagachev said. It was his proposal he made to the Russian president to promote Zhukov in his career at sport institutions, Tyagachev added.
"The resolution made today is consistent and correct. Zhukov has a good command of information, he speaks English well enough, which will help him easily communicate with all the heads of international sport federations," Tyagachev said.