Two-time NBA champion and three-time Olympic medalist Pau Gasol won an election Wednesday at the Tokyo Games that means he’ll be mixing with royals and representing athletes for the next seven years at the International Olympic Committee.
Gasol was one of 30 candidates who were competing at the ballot box and in their Olympic sports in Tokyo.
He got 1,888 of more than 6,800 votes cast by athletes for the four vacant IOC seats. Polls closed Tuesday, the day Gasol played six minutes in Spain’s 95-81 loss to the United States in the quarterfinals.
The 41-year-old Spanish basketball star joins an IOC membership list drawn variously from European and Middle East royal families, international sports bodies, business leaders and 12 athletes elected by their peers.
His new colleagues include the Emir of Qatar, Queen Elizabeth’s daughter Princess Anne, the former presidents of Costa Rica and Croatia, Laura Chinchilla and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, and two-time Olympic champion runner Sebastian Coe.
It’s an exclusive club to be in, even if the influence of members over decisions such as picking Olympic hosts cities has declined since 2013 during Thomas Bach’s hands-on presidency.
Gasol’s seven-year tenure will run until the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, where he won his two NBA titles with the Lakers.
The other new members are cyclist Maja Martyna Wloszczowska of Poland, Italian swimmer Federica Pellegrini and Japan’s Yuki Ota, from Bach’s sport of fencing.
The losing candidates included athletes who’ve already won gold medals in Tokyo: men’s high jumper Mutaz Barshim of Qatar and Australian swimmer Cate Campbell. They finished 10th and 11th, respectively, each with around 1,000 votes.
A current IOC member, Slovakian shooter Danka Bartekova, placed seventh and did not retain her seat.
The four winners join an IOC Athlete Commission that includes members elected at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and the past two Winter Games at Sochi and Pyeongchang.
The panel includes Yelena Isinbaeva, the women’s pole vault world record holder, Hungarian swimmer Daniel Gyurta and Chinese speed skater Hong Zhang, plus 11 more athletes chosen by the IOC. It meets Friday to elect a chairperson who will join the Olympic body’s executive board.
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