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BEHIND THE RINGS: Inside the Olympic Movement

Latest Round of Nominees for IOC Lacks Women

August 06, 2000|ALAN ABRAHAMSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When it comes to equality for women athletes and, perhaps more important, the promotion of women to positions of authority in sports, the International Olympic Committee talks a good game.

The IOC's charter calls for the "strict application of the principle of equality between men and women."

But not one of 14 nominees recently approved for an upcoming membership election is female.

The IOC's ruling Executive Board approved the list of 14 nominees on July 28 at headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The full IOC is scheduled to vote on the list before the Sydney Games next month.

The list was submitted by the IOC's all-male nomination commission, but it had no choice in the matter. All 48 names submitted for consideration by national Olympic committees and by the international federations that govern sports worldwide were men.

In announcing the list of 14--which includes one American, Bill Hybl, the president of the U.S. Olympic Committee--the IOC's Executive Board expressed its "disappointment" that all were male. It also said that Anita DeFrantz of Los Angeles, an IOC vice president, had been appointed "to look into the matter" and try to determine why no women made the nominations list.

DeFrantz, the first female vice president in IOC history, said that there is no magic cure for gender inequity in the IOC's male-dominated leadership.

The IOC went without any female members from 1894 until 1981. The current roster of 113 members includes 14 women. Only two women have ever been elected to the Executive Board; DeFrantz is the only woman on the panel now.

Parity will take time and consensus-building, she said.

But as a start, she said, reforms enacted last year after the Salt Lake City scandal call for athletes to elect eight new IOC members during the Sydney Games. The athletes' list of 45 candidates includes 16 women.

"Perhaps the athletes were more enlightened than the administrators," she said.

With women accounting for about 40% of the competitors in Sydney, DeFrantz also said: "We are very close to equality on the field of play. That's where I came from, in the noblest of sports," a reference to rowing and the bronze medal she and her crew won at the Montreal Games in 1976.

Sports administrators, she said, often get their start as athletes. "So as time marches on," DeFrantz said, "we will see more and more women administrators."

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