Fredericks and Bokel praise London’s athlete-focused Games
Outgoing IOC Athletes’ Commission chairman Frank Fredericks and his successor Claudia Bokel have both praised London 2012 for ensuring that the athletes remain at the heart of the Games.
Fredericks was part of the IOC Evaluation Commission ahead of the decision to award the 2012 Games to London and was also a member of the IOC Coordination Commission, which monitored the progress of the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) during preparations for the Games. Throughout that time, he has been impressed by the way in which athletes were always at the centre of LOCOG’s plans, thanks to the input of both the IOC Athletes’ Commission and LOCOG’s own Athletes’ Committee.
“I have seen this baby grow over the last seven years, to see what we have today,” said the four-time Olympic silver medallist. “It has always been athlete-centred, and I am happy. I think this always had the athletes at heart, and I am very happy that when I met with Jonathan Edwards, who was leading the LOCOG Athletes’ Committee, he was always checking up with me from day one in terms of ‘What do you think about this’, ‘Can you guys go back and see within the IOC Athletes’ Commission whether you like this idea or not’.”
Fredericks reserved particular praise for the Athletes’ Village, where competitors are staying during the Games.
“I was very impressed when I saw the village for the first time,” he said. “I think in my experience, which is only lasting from '92, this is the best Village I have seen. I think the athletes are happy, and they will be happy here for the duration of the time that they are here.”
Fredericks also highlighted LOCOG’s Friends and Family Ticketing Programme for athletes, which allowed every athlete competing in the Games to buy up to two tickets, depending on the sport, for friends and family for each session in which they are competing.
“From the athletes' perspective, I am happy that we have the Friends and Family Ticketing Programme here in London,” he said. “It is the first time this has been done. It is nice that now, finally, athletes know that their friends and family can eventually come to the Games and watch them.
“Before London that was not possible and now it is possible, and I can say that we have worked hard to find a great solution to have these friends and family tickets, and I think now all our friends and all our families can be happy to know they can purchase a ticket to come and watch us here in London.”
Fredericks completes his tenure as Chairman of the IOC Athletes’ Commission at the end of the London 2012 Games, when Bokel, who was elected by her fellow Commission members in London, will succeed him.
Like Fredericks, Bokel has been impressed by how the athletes have been considered throughout the planning of the London 2012 Games.
“I can only thank Frank and everyone from LOCOG for what they have done here to make a wonderful Games,” said the former épée fencer, who won a silver medal at the Athens 2004 Games. “It’s only just started but it started very well.”
“All the athletes here in the village, apart from competing, can vote for their representatives,” she said. “There are 21 candidates and four of them will be elected and announced on 9 August. We are supporting that, which also gives us a chance to be at the village and also for the athletes to speak to us, as the IOC Athletes' Commission, with all their issues and complaints. No one has come up to us yet, but we are still there just in case something may come up.”