Coventry named Zimbabwe's Minister of Sport

Kirsty Coventry carried the Zimbabwe flag during the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, her fifth and final appearance at the Games. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Former Olympic champion Kirsty Coventry was named Zimbabwe's new Minister of Sport on Friday.

A member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board, the 34-year-old Coventry previously served as vice-president of the Zimbabwe Olympic committee.

Coventry is Africa's most prolific Olympian, having won the gold medals in the 200m backstroke at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, as well as four silvers and a bronze.

Her tally of seven Olympic medals makes her tied for the most individual medals by a female swimmer at the Olympics, along with Hungary's Krisztina Egerszegi.

Coventry retired from swimming after the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, having won all but one of Zimbabwe's Olympic medals - the country's women's field hockey team won gold at the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games.

She was regarded as Zimbabwe's country's "golden girl" for her success in the pool, and was awarded a $100,000 prize by former President Robert Mugabe for her feats at the 2008 Games - the majority of which was donated to charity.

Mugabe was succeeded by Emmerson Mnangagwa's as Zimbabwean President in 2017, and the country's new head of state confirmed her appointment as Minister of youth, sports, art and recreation.