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Kirsty Leigh Coventry

Five-time Olympian & Chair

ORGANISATION: IOC Athletes’ Commission

Kirsty Coventry is a five-time Olympian who uses her influence to create a positive and sustainable impact on the world around her. Using the experiences from her personal journey and by serving on the boards of multiple sporting organisations around the world, Coventry hopes to use her platform to create global change. She is committed to sport, Africa, women and children, and is best known for her passion and competitive nature.

Despite coming from a landlocked country in Africa, Coventry dedicated over 20 years to becoming the top African female swimmer in the history of the Olympic Games. She competed in five Olympic Games, won seven individual Olympic medals, broke multiple world records and had one of the best World Championship careers of all time. Most importantly, Coventry’s athletic success helped unite the country of Zimbabwe, where division caused by economic and political turmoil was crippling, and gave hope to people who thought their circumstances would prevent them from following their dreams. After seeing this impact, she began a mission to help create constructive, sustainable changes through sport.

Coventry is a member of the International Olympic Committee, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Vice President of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, Vice President of the International Surfing Federation, a member of FINA’s athlete committee and a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency. She also recently established the Kirsty Coventry Academy, a learn-to-swim programme, and a non-profit organisation that supports the underprivileged in low-income communities called HEROES. HEROES focuses on youth development, health and education in Zimbabwe, with the goal to spread the programme throughout Africa.


The speakers

Using the unique power of sport to bring people together, the Olympism in Action Forum sees a range of global players, including Olympic Movement stakeholders, athletes, private and public sector leaders, NGO representatives, academics, artists and the media come together to talk on topical contemporary issues. Chosen because of their ability to effect change and their wide range of sometimes differing opinions, the speakers will lead lively debates and seek to challenge received wisdom to inspire new ways of thinking.

Meet the speakers.
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