There are some stories in sports that just bring a smile to my face…..and the story on this video is one of those….every time I watch….I just smile and feel good….cuz for the first time in the history of the country of Morroco to compete in the Olympics…..they win a medal….and not just a medal….but the gold medal….as women’s 400 m hurdler Nawal El Moutawakel ran and hurdled into Olympic history and became an overnight hero in her native country.
Although she had been a quite accomplished runner….the victory of El Moutawakel….who studied at Iowa State University….at the time was a surprise to Morrocan King Hassan II telephoned El Moutawakel to give his congratulations….and he declared that all girls born the day of her victory were to be named in her honor….as her medal also meant the breakthrough for sporting women in Morocco and other mostly Muslim countries…..for she was a pioneer for Muslim and Arabic athletes in that she confounded long-held beliefs that women of such backgrounds could not succeed in athletics.
In 1993 she started running for fun, a 5 km run for women in Casablanca that has since become the biggest women’s race held in a Muslim country, with up to 30,000 who came to run. In 1995, El Moutawakel became a council member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)….and in 1998 she became a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)….as she was the president of evaluation commissions for the selection of the host city for the 2012 London Olympics and upccoming 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
In 2006, El Moutawakel was one of the eight bearers of the Olympic flag at the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Turin, Italy. On 26 July 2012, she carried the Olympic torch through Westminster, London, for the London Olympics…for this outstanding athlete and woman is an Olympian through-and-through.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give USA Judy Brown some love….cuz that gal ran a brilliant last 40 m to win the silver medal.