Rio de Janeiro – American ice hockey Olympic Champion Angela Ruggiero was elected as the new voice of the athletes within the Olympic Movement in Sunday’s joint meeting between the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission and the IOC Executive Board.

Angela Ruggiero is the current Vice-Chair of the Commission, which acts as the liaison between the will of the athletes and the leadership of the Olympic Movement.  Ruggiero helped lead Team USA to four Olympic medals, including the gold at the Olympic Games Nagano 1998.  During her career, Ruggiero also played in more games than any other man or woman in Team USA history.

“I am grateful for the trust my fellow IOC Athletes’ Commission members have put in me and my work,” Ruggiero said after the meeting. “It is an important time within the Olympic Movement and our Commission has a great responsibility. I will make sure our voices aren’t just heard, but that they are effective and that we empower athletes around the world to do the same.”

Ruggiero will replace Claudia Bokel. The German épée fencer won the silver medal at the Olympic Games Athens 2004, and will step down from the helm of the IOC Athletes’ Commission at the end of the Games following the completion of her four-year term. At the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, Bokel was elected onto the commission. She was elected as Commission Chair on the eve of the London Olympic Games 2012.

“I have worked with Angela Ruggiero as the Vice Chair over the past two years and I am convinced she will continue to be the voice of athletes’ within the IOC Executive Board and the Olympic Movement,” Bokel said after the Ruggiero’s appointment to the commission.  “I wish her and the IOC Athletes’ Commission the best of luck for the future.”

During Bokel’s time as Chair the Olympic Movement oversaw substantial changes, including the introduction of Olympic Agenda 2020.

The Athletes’ Commission elected French slalom canoeist Tony Estanguet  as Vice-Chair.

In addition to the vote, the IOC Executive Board met with the IOC Athletes’ Commission to discuss important topics ranging from the protection of clean athletes, athletes’ representation in National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs), to IOC Athlete Programmes, and the Commission’s mission during the Games and elections currently underway.

Elections for the four IOC Athletes’ Commission positions are underway. Voting is taking place inside the Olympic Village’s IOC Space and football cities. Voting closes on the 17th of August.

During Games-time, IOC Athletes’ Commission members will be present in the IOC Space located at the entrance to the Main Dining Hall in the Olympic Villages. Commission members serve as contact points for all athletes participating in the Games should they have any question, comments or concerns. Members are also on hand to assist fellow Olympians with questions regarding career planning via the IOC’s Athlete Career Programme, or the IOC’s online educational platform, the Athlete Learning Gateway.

Learn more about the IOC Athletes’ Commission here.