Press release

Special guests

Special guests of the conference Gender equity in Sport for Social Change were two first ever Olympic gold medallists in a specific category: Joan Benoit Samuelson (USA), who won gold in the marathon race and Nawal El Moutawakel (Morocco), who won gold at the 400m hurdles. The year was……1984. Both women broke barriers and set marks for equal opportunities and social inclusion, regardless of sex or race. They delivered powerful and inspiring opening speeches at the conference. During the opening ceremony, Joan and Nawal finally -after twenty four years- embraced and shook hands again. Even though they lived their lives the past quarter century on different continents, they have a strong similarity. For both winning a gold medal turned out not to be the finish, but a starting point: the start of being a role model and using popularity and influence to break down barriers for other women.

Gold medaillists Nawal El Moutawakel (left) and Joan Benoit Samuelson (right) meet again after 24 years.