Former WCF President Kate Caithness has been awarded with the Olympic Order from IOC President Thomas Bach ©WCF/Celine Stucki

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has awarded the departing President of the World Curling Federation (WCF), Kate Caithness, the Olympic Order to recognise her 12 years as head of the winter sport governing body.

Bach attended the General Assembly as part of the WCF Annual Congress today in Lausanne, the same city as the headquarters of the IOC.

He also met Beau Welling, the newly-elected President of the WCF, who was selected by the National Federations in the second round of voting.

The Olympic Order is the highest honour bestowed on an individual by the IOC, given to those who provide outstanding contribution to the Olympic Movement.

Caithness has stood down as head of the WCF after a maximum 12 years in the role, and was one of four women who were Presidents of Olympic International Federations at the time of her departure.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this huge honour," said Caithness.

"I can't thank you [President Bach], the IOC and our members enough. 

"You, our members, have made this happen for me when you voted me as your President 12 years ago. 

"During this time I've done my best to further our great sport. 

"My birthday was three days ago and this has to be the best birthday present I’ve ever received and so very very unexpected - thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Also in honour of her tenure, a new World Wheelchair Curling Championship trophy is being introduced this year called the "Kate Caithness Salver", noting the former head's influence on getting wheelchair curling as part of the Paralympic programme.

This will be given out for the first time at the 2023 World Wheelchair Curling Championship.

Also at the General Assembly, Helena Lingham from Sweden and Brazil's Sergio Mitsuo Vilela were added to the Board for four-year terms.

Chair of the Athlete Commission, Canada's Jill Officer, was added to the WCF Board too, which now has an athlete representative.

Another Swede, Cathrine Lindahl, retired from the WCF Board, meaning the remaining two years of her term are to be filled by a new Board member following a formal nomination process.

Athlete Commission chair Jill Officer has been added to the WCF Board ©Getty Images
Athlete Commission chair Jill Officer has been added to the WCF Board ©Getty Images

The "No Tick-shot" rule has been approved for the 2022-2023 season after being trialled at the 2022 Women's and Men's World Championships, and is to be officially incorporated into the rules of curling next month.

This trial will not be used in the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship and the World Wheelchair Curling Championship.

Meanwhile, Curling Jamaica is the latest National Federation to be added to the WCF's list, joining on a provisional basis.

The Polish Federation of Curling Clubs has also been added provisionally, following the suspension of the Polish Curling Association for "bringing the sport into disrepute" in 2020.

The Polish Curling Association is appealing the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Thailand and Bosnia and Herzegovina were approved as conditional member associations of the WCF.

The Bolivian Curling Federation was suspended too for non-payment of their subscription.