By Stephen J. Thomas
SYDNEY, January 20. DUAL Aussie Olympic gold medalist Susie O'Neill resigned from her privileged post on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for personal reasons late last week.
The 32-year-old O'Neill, who won gold in the 200 freestyle at the Sydney Olympics, and as the then 200 fly world record-holder, was also favored to win that event before being edged out by American Misty Hyman in a famous upset, has been a member of the IOC since her retirement after the 2000 Games. O’Neill indicated she wanted to dedicate more time to her daughter and family life. (O'Neill is pictured far right with Petria Thomas, Dyana Calub and a very young Leisel Jones after bringing home the Aussie Medley relay to a silver medal in her last swim at the Sydney Olympics).
The IOC president Jacques Rogge said in a statement from Paris, "Susie is a role model for the Olympic Movement. I would like to thank her for her active and valuable contribution over the last four years, during which she played an important role in representing the voice of athletes on the IOC. We wish her all the best for the future and hope that her busy family life will still allow her some time to keep close ties with the Olympic Movement.”
THe IOC acted swiftly with a replacement for O'Neill announcing the appointment of New Zealander Barbara Kendall, an Olympic sailing medalist from New Zealand, to take up the role on the IOC Athletes' Commission.