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As the Olympic Games got underway yesterday, a room full of young Carioca girls and women joined the IOC, UN Women and Always at Cidade das Artes, in Rio de Janeiro, to share with passion and inspiration how playing sports has empowered them. The event was organised in celebration of the IOC financially supported “One Win Leads to Another” initiative.
“The IOC is looking forward to working jointly with UN Women to advance gender equality, and in particular through this ‘One Win Leads to Another’ project, as it concerns the next generation of women,” said IOC Vice-President and Rio 2016 Coordination Commission Chair Nawal El-Moutawakel. Joined by a number of fellow IOC Members from the IOC Women in Sport Commission, the Moroccan Olympic champion added: “As an athlete and woman, I know something about the power of sport. Sport definitely touched my life and totally changed it. It gave me strength and self-confidence to overcome many barriers in life.”
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, also in attendance, said: “The power of sport should never be underestimated. It can change lives, through increasing girls’ and young women’s belief in their own abilities, encouraging them to take initiative and aim high. A girl who has learnt her own strength and resilience on the games field is equipped to translate her skill into challenging the obstacles she faces outside the arena”.
Three adolescent girls – Kaillana (14), Marcelly (16) and Adrielle (12) – took the stage as representatives of the 400 plus peers currently registered in the Rio-based programme to share their personal experience of the project and how it is teaching them to “evolve”, to believe that “all goals are pursuable” and, more importantly, “never to quit”.
“This project has helped me to believe and pursue a dream which is to become a great athlete. I feel very much empowered,” said 12 year-old Adrielle with poise. “You can tell the teenagers who take part in sport are different to those who don’t. We are more open-minded and we end up discovering ourselves.” With dreams of being a professional athlete or a rhythmic gymnastics teacher, the young Carioca ran with the Olympic torch on 5 August as it approached the end of its journey to the Maracanã Stadium.
Worldwide TOP Partner P&G’s brand Always announced it is joining the “One Win Leads to Another” initiative through its #LikeAGirl – Keep Playing programme to contribute to the goal of providing access and support to girls in sport.
In partnership with the National Olympic Committee of Brazil, the programme, which is helping 2,500 local Brazilian girls gain access to sport as a legacy of the Olympic Games, targets the National Youth School Games to spread the messages of non-discrimination, non-violence, girls’ empowerment and positive masculine traits among boys. The pilot project has been successfully implemented in 50 schools across the state of Rio de Janeiro. It will now be expanded to other states and cities in Brazil, in the hope that it will serve as a model that can be rolled out internationally.
Promoting women in sport both on and off the field of play are of key importance to the IOC. With the adoption of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC reaffirmed its commitment to fostering gender equality, strengthening support to athletes, and entering into strategic partnerships linked to its long-standing cooperation with the UN and its relevant agencies.