Olympics Emma Terho is now Finland’s most influential sports boss: this is how she comments on transgender athletes, Belarus and skateboarding children’s stars

Emma Terho, multiple multiple hockey medalist, was elected chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Committee at the Tokyo Olympics. Pesti will also take him to the IOC board.

When Olympic bronze medals were strung around the neck of the Finnish women’s hockey team in Nagano in 1998, Emma Terho to complete his first Olympic trip in historic terms.

Terho, then still known as Laaksonen, became the youngest medalist in Finnish Olympic history.

Born in December 1981, the defender was a few months older than 16 years.

23 years later, Terho, 39, was back in the Olympics in Japan. This time in Tokyo and the Summer Games.

A gift from that trip is the election to chair the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission, which also means a seat on the IOC’s board.

Terho was elected Commissioner in Pyeongchang in 2018. Former chairman of the swimmer Kirsty Coventryn the term at the Commission ended in Tokyo. Terho was encouraged to apply for the position, and he won the vote as a pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayevan.

“I said it’s a place where it’s possible to make your voice heard. The role of the Commission has grown all the time. While there is still work to be done, the importance of hearing the voices of athletes has begun to be understood at every level, ”says Terho.

“After my career, I was on the Athletes Committee of the Olympic Committee. Through it, places and opportunities have opened up. ”

The role of mothers in sports is a matter of heart for Emma Terho.

Athletes’ Commission In addition to his presidency, Terho is a member of the board of the Hockey Association. Terho says his path to organizations has been accidental but natural.

While serving as captain on national and club teams, Terho often had discussions with the coaching management and between the players.

“It’s a role I’ve found valuable. I have seen how important it is to take messages forward. After my career, I was on the Athletes Committee of the Olympic Committee. Through it, places and opportunities have opened up. I consider the tasks important because I have received so much from sports, ”says Terho.

Terho’s perspective on the Olympics is broad. When she traveled to Nagano Olympic Village as a teenager, in Sochi in 2014, she was already involved as the mother of one child.

The competitions experienced as a commission candidate and as a member have come to the fore. Terho is involved in the IOC Coordination Committee at the Beijing Winter Games.

One of the committee’s tasks is to ensure that Beijing organizes good sports for athletes in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.

The position of athletic mothers arose before Tokyo. Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold had to be left without an Olympic venue, when her pregnancy affected the ranking. Bujold got a seat through the International Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Read more: A Canadian mother wins a historic battle – the Olympic dream lives on: “This was the battle that mattered the most”

The tightness of the corona bubble for mothers was also discussed during the Olympics. Taitouimari Ona Carbonell said that strict regulations in Japan effectively prevented his one-year-old son from traveling to Tokyo.

Terho says the role of mothers in sports is a matter of the heart for him. She says she is pleased that having children has become an increasingly natural part of her career in recent years.

Terho thanks Aino-Kaisa from the Islands and says that this has had a significant impact on the position of mothers on the International Ski Federation (FIS) side. In skiing, mothers are offered access to a childcare area and FIS points are not reduced during maternity leave.

“It is very important for the promotion of equality to support mothers so that the career does not have to end but the support continues despite the pregnancy. In order for the career to continue, support is needed with ancillary services, ”says Terho.

According to Terho, the National Olympic Committees know athletes best and have a great responsibility to ensure that the athlete is not left alone in the middle of the Olympic brawl.

At the Vancouver Olympics, the Finnish women’s national team, skippered by Emma Terho, won a bronze medal.

Mothers in addition, competitions for teenagers were also considered at the Games in Tokyo. Especially in skateboarding, the medalists were young. On the women’s side, four of the six medals awarded went to 12-13 year olds.

The sports are allowed to define their own rules and age limits, but Terho admits the IOC is ultimately responsible for the competitions in the Olympics. The age limit he believes will rise in the debate.

On the one hand, it is Terho’s opinion that all the best are involved, and on the other hand, that the athlete has the opportunity to receive the attention coming from the Olympics.

“Skating was involved for the first time, and the sport of the sport is young. Will there be older competitors next time or will new young stars emerge? ”Terho ponders.

According to Terho, the National Olympic Committees know athletes best and have a great responsibility to ensure that the athlete is not left alone in the middle of the Olympic brawl.

The mental health of athletes has been the focus of the Athletes’ Commission, and Terho will continue to consider it important to pay attention to this.

“Many of these competitors are really popular, but here the attention comes in the eyes of a new audience and in a different way.”

Read more: Laurel Hubbard, who previously competed in the men’s series, was left without a result in women’s weightlifting – the participation aroused such rage that the athlete had to be protected

Perhaps the two topics most discussed during the Games are linked to human rights.

Transgender competing in weightlifting Laurel Hubbard received a lot of media attention after his performance.

Terho admits that decisions about the participation of transgender athletes must be made quite quickly.

“It’s not a black and white thing where one way would suit all species. The fairness of the competition, the safety of the athletes and, on the other hand, equality must be taken into account. There is certainly a need to learn from the views of the various parties and to proceed on the basis of them. There is no easy medical solution to this. ”

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskajan the departure from the Games was likewise one of the most talked about events of the Olympics.

Read more: Grandma called sprinter Tsimanouskaja as she was picked up at the airport: “Don’t come back to Belarus”

An attempt was made to force Tsimanouskaja to return to Belarus for coaching this criticized national athletics team. Eventually, Tsimanouskaya traveled to Poland, where she obtained a humanitarian visa.

The case sparked a debate on Belarus’ status as a member of the IOC. Terho recalls that the Belarusian state leadership or the associated leadership of the Olympic Committee was not accredited to Tokyo.

Terho wants to remind the issue from the point of view of athletes.

“If Belarus had been categorically closed, no athlete would have been allowed to come to an event that is for them the culmination of their careers and also an opportunity to see people from other parts of the world. This case, too, brought the country’s issues to the attention of the whole world in a different way than they would otherwise have risen, ”says Terho.

“If the athletes were under a neutral flag, for example, would they want to do so and would competing in neutral be a genuinely safe option for them.”

Emma Terho and President Tarja Halonen hugged at the Vancouver Olympics

Tokyo after that the time of the next winter races is less than half a year. The summer races are also coming forward faster than before due to the Tokyo corona transfer.

In less than three years, competition will take place in Paris.

The Olympics have grown into an event for more than 11,000 athletes. From Paris, the number of athletes will be slightly reduced. The competition is open to 10,500 athletes, with sport-specific quotas has already been defined.

For the first time, there are equal places for women and men, 5,250 for both.

In the future, the host country will be allowed to choose four species for the competition, the number of participants of which must fit within the quotas.

Paris has already made its choice: skateboarding, climbing and surfing will continue in the program, in addition to which breaking from dance to sports will become an Olympic sport. Baseball and softball as well as karate fall from the program.

“A smaller maximum number of athletes is part of the organization of more sustainable competitions, and it is not allowed to go beyond that.”

Sports Committee of the International Olympic Committee

  • The Commission has 17 members. In connection with the Summer Games, four representatives are elected and, in the case of the Winter Games, two representatives are elected to sit on the committee for two Olympic mothers. Athletes participating in the competition are entitled to vote.

  • Five representatives will be appointed without a vote in order to achieve geographical and inter-species fairness.

  • The Commission shall elect a chairman from among its members by voting. The chairman is a member of the IOC Board.

  • The candidate for the commission must have competed in the Olympics either by ballot or four years earlier.

  • In Tokyo, basketball player Pau Gasol, cyclist Maja Włoszczowska, swimmer Federica Pellegrini and swordsman Yuki Ota were elected as new members.

  • The Commission is an expert body whose proposals are submitted to the government for decision. In addition, the Sports Commission has a representative in other IOC commissions and working groups so that the voice of athletes is heard already in the preparatory phase.

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