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The 400m hurdles for women made its Olympic debut at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. In the final, El Moutawakel led from start to finish and improved her personal best by 0.76 seconds.
El Moutawakel’s achievement made her the first woman from an Islamic nation to win an Olympic medal and the first Moroccan athlete of either sex to win a gold medal.
Back in her hometown of Casablanca, her final was televised live at 2 a.m. When El Moutawakel took her victory lap carrying a huge Moroccan flag, people in Casablanca poured into the streets to celebrate.
In 1998, El Moutawakel was chosen to be a member of the International Olympic Committee. She was Chairwoman of the Evaluation Commission for the selection of the host city for the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.