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June 9, 2021

Two IOC members stepping down; North Korea’s absence from Tokyo 2020 confirmed

Two members of the International Olympic Committee are resigning from the organisation.

By Simon Ward

Two members of the International Olympic Committee are resigning from the organisation.

Count Prince Frederik of Denmark and Kikkan Randall of the USA both cited personal reasons for their decisions, which take effect after the forthcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The announcement was made on the occasion of an IOC executive board meeting being held via videoconference this week and takes the number of members down to 101.

The 53-year-old Crown Prince Frederik has been a member since 2009, and was re-elected for eight more years in 2017, but is stepping down to focus on his duties at home.

In a statement, he said: “The decision to resign gives me the opportunity to intensify my work on other important issues, including in relation to Denmark's position as one of the world's leading nations in the green agenda, sustainability and innovation.

“I have been passionate about getting both young and old out of the chair and embarking on a life of sport and movement. My work in the IOC inspired me, among other things, to establish the Royal Run, which I am very proud of. Although my time as an active IOC member ends in Tokyo, I will continue to carry the Olympic values ​​forward in my future work."

Randall, a US cross-country skier, has been serving as an IOC member having been elected to the IOC Athletes’ Commission at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang where she won a gold medal in the team sprint event.

In a letter to IOC president Thomas Bach, the 38-year-old Randall cited “unfortunate and unforeseen personal circumstances” for her decision to step down.

The only other two US members of the IOC are vice president Anita DeFrantz and International Tennis Federation president David Haggerty.

Meanwhile, the IOC has directed international federations to reallocate the places of North Korean athletes at this year’s Olympics

This comes after the country decided in April that it would not be sending a team because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but did not communicate this officially.

Four North Koreans had qualified for events at the games, which were postponed from last year because of Covid-19.

Speaking at a virtual news conference yesterday, James Macleod, the IOC’s director of Olympic solidarity, said: “In April they (North Korea) held a general assembly and there was a decision at the time.

"The problem was they did not inform us officially. We had a lot of ongoing discussions on reasons and to offer them as many assurances as possible."

"We would like 206 national Olympic committees to take part in the Games. It got to the point where we had to make a decision on the qualified places. So there was a decision today (Tuesday) by the (IOC) executive board. Today we needed to reallocate those four places for fairness to the other athletes."

It will be the first time North Korea has missed an Olympics since boycotting the 1988 summer games in Seoul.

In other developments, it has been announced that the refugee team at the Tokyo games will comprise 29 athletes competing in 12 sports.

The number of athletes represents an increase of 10 from the inaugural refugee team at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The team is made up athletes who were forced to flee their home countries and received scholarships to train for the games in a new home country. Nine of the 29 athletes come from Syria.

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