Claudia Bokel

Week 13 (30 November - 6 December 2013)

Claudia Bokel – Chair of the IOC Athletes' Commission – spent much of November at 30,000 feet, but throughout a demanding month-long tour she still found time to promote the interests of her primary constituents with insightful and engaging social media interactions.

She is "an inspiration for other athletes in career transition" in the eyes of Giancarlo Sergi, director of the Work in Sports Exhibition (WISE), for whom Bokel became an ambassador last Friday. But it is the manner in which she has been delivering that inspiration of late that scoops her this week's nomination.

Bokel has shown an impressive commitment to social media since her own transition to Twitter on 30 December 2011. She expertly uses the platform to place the causes and characters of her team of 15 members, four honorary members and two ex-officio members in the eye-line of the sport world's Twitterati.

The 40-year-old German achieves this in several ways, some as cutting edge as the sword-ship which won her a team épée silver at Athens 2004. She tweets regularly but not excessively: averaging about 25-a-week over the past month (including retweets) and circa 1,000 over two years. Her activity peaks around events with content focused on reporting news relevant to the Athletes' Commission and the other sports bodies she is, or has been, involved with. As well as thought-provoking personal insight, Bokel's news feed acts as a bite-sized index of everything you need to know about athletes' and former athletes' contributions to the Olympic Movement.

Bokel's disciplined approach has so far seen her pick up 1, 083 followers on Twitter, making her the third most followed female IOC member. She could have been nominated as JTA's COTW at any time since day one, missing out by a whisker with her Twitter version of 'Guess Who?', where she posed with fellow former athletes and invited her followers to identify them. At the recent IOC World Conference on Sport and the Environment, Bokel posted pictures of ex-rival Russian fencer Karina Aznavourian, Saudi Arabian mountaineer Raha Moharrak and Hungarian swimmer Ágnes Kovács.

This example may separate Bokel from the crowd, but it's her overall stance of putting her commissions' causes first which is most impressive. Former athletes already look to Bokel as a role model for making the transition from competitor to an equally successful life after sport, but current athletes could also learn a thing or two from her about effective communication through social media.


Photo: Work In Sports Exhibition