MOSCOW: Alexander Popov, four times an Olympic swimming gold medallist, has emerged as candidate to take over the presidency of the tarnished Russian Olympic Committee.

Popov, 46, an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee following his membership of the athletes commission between 2008 and 2016, was proposed by the Russian Shooting Federation over the weekend, on the eve of the deadline.

The single other candidate for the election on May 29 in Moscow to succeed Alexander Zhukov is the 1996 Olympic champion fencer Stanislav Pozdnyakov, currently a vice-president of the national Olympic committee.

Popov is a former member of the ROC’s executive committee and also headed the public council of the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation, a position where he was able to build a strong network of political support.

His history within the IOC ‘family’ appears a possible advantage since Zhukov’s departure, officially to focus on his political career, would leave Russia with only two members on the governing body of the Olympic movement in Shamil Tarpischev and Yelena Isinbayeva.