In a statement on social media last week, Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall announced that she had made the decision to step down from her position as a member of the International Olympic Committee Athletes Commission. “Unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances in my personal life have made it difficult for me to contribute the energy and attention necessary to fulfill my IOC roles at a level consistent with my values,” wrote Randall.
Members of the IOC Athletes Commission provide a link between the IOC and the athletes with the goal of ensuring that the athletes’ viewpoints are at the heart of the Olympic Movement’s decisions. The IOC website lists the responsibilities of the IOC Athletes Commission as:
- Empowering Athlete Representation in Olympic Movement decision-making processes.
- Supporting Athlete Development in their sporting and non-sporting careers.
- Promoting Athlete Involvement in decision-making across the Olympic Movement.
- Ensuring Athlete Representation in Olympic Movement decision-making.
Randall has been a member of the IOC Athletes Commission for the past three years and she said, “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity the IOC has given me to learn and grow as an athlete advocate and contributor to the Olympic movement. It’s been a true privilege to work with such a dedicated, caring and passionate team.” Though Randall is stepping down from the position, she plans to stay involved with the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission.
Randall’s successor on the Athletes Commission is Norwegian Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen. Jacobsen retired from ski competition in 2020 after thirteen years of racing on the World Cup circuit, including a breakout performance earning gold at World Championships in a classic sprint in 2007 and an Olympic gold medal with the Norwegian women’s relay team in PyeongChang. Jacobsen also worked her way through medical school while racing.
In response to her selection to the IOC Athletes Commission Jacobsen said in a press release, “I am both honored and humbled when I now join the IOC’s executive committee and become an IOC member. My main motivation for accepting this position is to work to ensure that the voice of practitioners is heard in all important matters. I experience that athletes have become an increasingly important group in international sports, and that our views have been desired in the important sports policy debates. I am really looking forward to taking on this position.” As one of the 15 athlete representatives, Jacobsen will serve as a member until 2026.
Growing up in Washington’s Methow Valley, Ella was immersed in skiing and the ski community from a young age. From early days bundled in the pulk, to learning to ski as soon as she could walk, to junior racing, a few seasons of collegiate racing, and then to coaching, she has experienced the ski world in many forms. Now, as a recent graduate from Dartmouth College, she finds herself living in France splitting her time between teaching English at a university in Lyon, avidly following ski racing (and now writing about it!) and adventuring in the outdoors as often as possible.