First Muslim female Olympic winner could be IOC’s first woman president


The first Muslim woman to win an Olympic gold medal could be the first female to break men’s long-standing in heading the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for 2013, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Nawal al-Moutawakel, who is IOC’s vice-president, became the first Moroccan, African, Arab, Muslim woman to win a gold Olympic medal when she won women’s 400m hurdles event at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Moutawakel has emerged as a leading contender for IOC’s presidency and could also to be the second non-European to lead the IOC to replace Belgium’s Jacques Rogge after him stepping down late 2012, according to The Independent newspaper.

The former athlete, who is also currently heading the coordinating committee for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games, already has the backing of Rogge himself.

“Sport has given me so much that whatever I give back it will never be enough,” The Independent quoted her as saying. “I am certainly considering standing for the IOC presidency. Maybe it is time for a woman. But there is a long list of possible contenders.”

Best known for leading the IOC Evaluation Commission for the London 2012 Games, Moutawakel said the future of sport is “feminine.”

“Someone once said the future of sport is feminine, and I believe that. You cannot move forward without both legs, men and women. Complete integration is important, but increased female presence at major sports events is not enough. We want full inclusion in administration. Women are present in all activities, so why can’t they be leaders in sport?”

Moutawakel, a mother of two, has organized fourteen years ago the first Moroccan women’s 10km race in Casablanca, an event which now attracts more than 30,000 participants annually.