Azores Islands, Portugal – 22 September 2016
Five-time Olympian, seven-time Olympic Medallist, two-time Olympic Champion and multiple world record breaker, Kirsty Coventry, is set to be elected today as Vice-President of the International Surfing Association (ISA) – the IOC recognized global governing body for Surfing.
The Zimbabwean swimmer will be elected unopposed at the governing body’s annual general meeting taking place during the 2016 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in the Azores Islands, Portugal. She will become the first ever female ISA Vice-President from Africa.
Coventry will replace Layne Beachley of Australia and will join President Fernando Aguerre, fellow IOC Member and Olympic Champion Barbara Kendall of New Zealand, Double Stand-Up Paddle World Champion, Casper Steinfath of Denmark and President of the Pan American Surf Association, Karin Sierralta of Peru on the ISA Executive Committee.
Coventry is Africa’s most successful Olympian of all time and the top individual female swimmer in Olympic history. She has competed at every Olympic Games from Sydney 2000 to Rio 2016, winning Gold in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. She is also a seven-time World Champion and broke world records on five occasions.
Coventry has been a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 2013 and sits on the IOC Athletes’ Commission; Olympic Solidarity Commission; Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020; Olympic Channel Commission; and the Evaluation Commission for the XXXIII Olympiad in 2024.
She is also a member of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa Athletes’ Commission, she is a member of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee and a Foundation Board Member and Athlete’s Committee Member of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:
“We are honored to be welcoming Kirsty as ISA Vice-President. Her outstanding career as an elite athlete tells you everything you need to know about her commitment, dedication and talent and I know she will add a great deal to our team. As an IOC Member, Kirsty also has very strong links with the Olympic Movement. This connection will be invaluable to the ISA as we prepare for Surfing’s Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.”
“Surfing’s unique values are rooted in inclusivity and diversity and we are delighted that Kirsty is set to become the ISA’s first ever female Vice-President from Africa. Global development is a key element of the ISA’s strategy and the consistent growth and reach amongst all areas of society is a driving force behind the ISA’s ambitions to solidify Surfing’s position on the Olympic Programme.”
Double Olympic Champion, Kirsty Coventry, added:
“I am thrilled to be joining Fernando and the ISA team as Vice-President at such an exciting time following Surfing’s inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. I am looking forward to getting to work as we prepare for the sport’s ground-breaking debut in Tokyo and beyond.
“Surfing expresses a unique and modern blend of sport performance, culture and a connection to nature that resonates with my own global outlook. Throughout my career, both as an athlete and as an administrator, I have been presented with some amazing opportunities and I am excited to be starting this new adventure with the ISA.”
The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 104 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro. The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).