LONDON, July 26, 2012
Laureus World Sports Academy Member Nawal El Moutawakel has been elected a Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee, while her fellow Academy Member Sergey Bubka has been voted on to the Executive Board.
Another of the Laureus Family, Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr, a member of the board of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in Spain, joins Bubka on the Executive Board.
El Moutawakel, who four years ago was the first woman from a Muslim nation voted on to the Executive Board, now becomes the first to become a Vice-President.
In 1984, she was the first Moroccan, African and Muslim woman to win an Olympic gold medal, in the 400 metres hurdles in Los Angeles in 1984. She is a former Vice-Chair of Laureus and Minister of Sport and Youth in Morocco.
She has already overseen the Evaluation Commission for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, a role she also fulfilled for the 2012 London Olympics. She currently heads the IOC’s Co-ordination Commission for Rio.
She said: “I am deeply honoured. I will continue to promote the Olympic movement with passion and devotion and energy.”
Her Olympic gold medal proved a major breakthrough for sporting women in Morocco and other Muslim countries and she has made the cause of health and fitness and participation of women in sport the centre piece of her philosophy. As organiser of the Courir pour le Plaisir, an annual 10 km fun run which attracts up to 30,000 women in Casablanca, she has put her beliefs into practice. She has also been instrumental in supporting two Laureus Sport for Good Foundation projects in Morocco aimed at encouraging women – first the Women in Sport project in Aït Iktel, one of the most isolated and disadvantaged areas of the country, and more recently the Courir pour La Vie project near Casablanca.
The announcement of the election was warmly welcomed by Edwin Moses, the Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy. He said: “Nawal has been breaking down barriers throughout her career. She has been an agent for change in her own country and has had a dramatic affect on the role of women in Moroccan society. She is one of those rare people who have made a difference in whatever they do.
“Sergey’s commitment to sport as a competitor and as a tireless worker in his native Ukraine and further afield has been admirable and Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr was a pioneer in establishing the Laureus Foundation in Spain. I congratulate them all.”