Serena Williams and Simone Biles, two of the United States’ most recognizable sportswomen, are among 46 Olympians and Paralympians appointed to the Los Angeles 2024 Athletes’ Advisory Commission, it was announced.
Williams is the greatest female tennis player in history, having won a record 23 Grand Slam singles titles.
She has also won four Olympic gold medals, including the singles at London 2012.
Biles is the most decorated American gymnast in Olympic history after winning five medals, including four gold, at Rio 2016.
In addition to Williams and Biles, the new members include Olympic champions Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Ashton Eaton and Nastia Liukin, another gymnast.
She won five Olympic medals at Beijing 2008, a gold, three silver and a bronze.
Liukin had been acting as a guide for the media during the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission meeting here this week.
The new members of a Commission headed by Los Angeles 2024 vice-chairman Janet Evans, a four-time Olympic swimming gold medallist, also include Joan Benoit Samuelson.
She was winner of the first women’s Olympic marathon at Los Angeles 1984 and met with the IOC Evaluation Commission at the Memorial Coliseum here yesterday.
A number of foreign athletes have also been appointed to the Commission.
They are headed by Britain’s Sir Steven Redgrave, winner of five consecutive Olympic medals in rowing between Los Angeles 1984 and Sydney 2000.
Another notable foreign athlete is Meseret Defar, winner of the Olympic 5,000 meters at Athens 2004 and London 2012.
Paralympic athletes are also represented with Jessica Long, the American swimmer who has 13 gold medals, joining the Commission.
British athlete Hannah Cockcroft, winner of five Paralympic gold medals in the T34 category at London 2012 and Rio 2016, is also among the new names.
Williams grew up playing tennis not far from StubHub Center, which would host tennis if Los Angeles are awarded the 2024 Olympics.
“Growing up in Los Angeles taught me that anyone can succeed as long as they have dreams and goals,” Williams, who recently announced she was pregnant, said.
“Los Angeles embodies the optimistic spirit that allows kids like me to become athletes and Olympians.
“I am proud to join the LA 2024 Athletes’ Advisory Commission and help bring the Olympics and Paralympics home and inspire the next generation of champions.”
Williams has won three of her Grand Slam titles at the French Open, which takes place annually in Paris, Los Angeles’ only candidate for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The IOC is due to choose the host city as its Session in Lima on September 13.
By Duncan Mackay
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.