Didier Cuche among 9 candidates

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Downhill skiing great Didier Cuche of Switzerland is running for election to the International Olympic Committee.

The four-time World Cup downhill title winner, who retired from racing in 2012, is among nine candidates competing for two places representing winter sports athletes on the IOC for eight-year terms, the Olympic body said Friday.

Six-time Olympic biathlon gold medalist Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway and Canadian ice hockey great, Hayley Wickenheiser, a three-time Olympic champion, are also are competing for election at the Sochi Games in February.

Four other candidates are Alpine skiers: Austria-born Kilian Albrecht for Bulgaria; Ana Jelusic of Croatia; Tanja Poutiainen of Finland; and Sarka Zahrobska of the Czech Republic.

Italian cross-country skier Pietro Piller-Cottrer, a gold medalist at the Turin Games in 2006, and biathlete Darya Domracheva of Belarus complete the lineup.

Candidates must have competed at the 2010 Vancouver Games or be taking part at Sochi. All athletes competing at Sochi are eligible to vote at the Feb. 7-23 event.

The two winners, who also will join the IOC Athletes' Commission, will replace Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott and ice hockey player Saku Koivu of Finland, whose eight-year terms are expiring. They were elected at Turin.

Bjorndalen is the most decorated Olympian in the election. His four gold medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games are among a career tally of 11 medals overall after competing at five straight editions from 1994-2010.

Wickenheiser won silver with Canada at the 1998 Nagano Games, and has been on the winning team at the past three Olympics. She also took part in the opening ceremony of her home Vancouver Games, receiving the athletes' oath on behalf of all competitors.

Cuche also earned silver at Nagano in the super-G race, his only Olympic medal. Poutiainen received giant slalom silver at Turin, Zahrobska won slalom bronze at Vancouver and Domracheva took home bronze from Canada.