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SPORTS

Athletics legend Paul Tergat elected International Olympic Committee member

SPORTS By AFP | September 10th 2013

Buenos Aires, Argentina: Kenya's athletics legend Paul Tergat was elected a member of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.

The 44-year-old -- who enjoyed a wonderful rivalry on the track with Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie but never beat him in five major 10,000 metres finals -- was one of nine new members elected on what was the final day in office of IOC President Jacques Rogge.

Tergat, who twice at the Olympics and twice at world championships had to settle for silver behind Gebrselassie while he also took bronze behind him in the 1995 World Championships, enjoyed, however, complete dominance in cross country.

He won five successive world cross country titles 1995-1999 before his reign was ended in 2000, finishing third behind Belgium's Mohammed Mourhit.

Among the other new members elected were the two presidents of the United States and Russian National Olympic Committees (NOC).

USOC president Larry Probst's election confirms the much improved relations between the IOC and the Americans -- the poor state of the relationship at the time contributed to Chicago's humiliating first round exit from the 2016 Olympics vote.

However, Probst helped vastly improve the relationship by playing a leading role in renegotiating a revenue sharing deal with the IOC.

His Russian counterpart and economics expert Alexander Zhukov, 56, joins him on the members roster.

Zhukov, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle and who was a Deputy Prime Minister from 2004-2010, played a major role in the successful campaign to bring the Black Sea resort of Sochi the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Zhukov, a fluent English speaker, was appointed head of the Russian NOC after his predecessor stepped down following Russia's poor performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

-AFP

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