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03 May 2018
Olympism in Action Forum
Olympism in Action Forum

Filipino Equestrian Spreads the Olympism Message

Mikaela “Mikee” Cojuangco-Jaworski is a Filipino equestrian jumper who has competed in three Asian Games and two South East Asian Games. Also an actress and model, she became an IOC Member in 2013.


In the run-up to the Olympism in Action Forum in Buenos Aires (5-6 October 2018), we looked at groups and individuals who, inspired by the power of sport to contribute to a better world, have used their initiative to organise projects and programmes to effect change at all levels.

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“I was 10 when I participated in my first equestrian competition. I remember sitting on my sister's bed and saying to her: ‘You know my coach said the craziest thing to me today. She said to me ‘Maybe one day you can ride in the Asian Games’, but I think she's crazy.’ My sister said: ‘Why would you think that she's crazy?’ I said: ‘Well, I'm just a kid from the Philippines who rides horses so I don't know how I'm going to do that, I think that's aiming a bit too high.’ She replied, ‘Well you know, it's never bad to aim high. I think you should make that a goal.’”

“So I made it a goal. A few years later, I did compete in the Asian Games and had the chance to try to qualify for the Olympic Games as well. So many things in my life that I never planned have happened, and I think that when there are opportunities that present themselves, it's up to us to decide to take it and make the most of it – even if we never even dreamt of it. From that day on I thought, ‘why did I ever limit myself?’”

As a member of the IOC’s Olympic Education Commission, my dream is to see ‘Olympism’ in the dictionary. Mikaela Cojuangco-Jaworski PHI

“I have four sisters and no brothers, so I grew up in a home where the women dominated. I compete in a sport where men and women have always competed against each other, and I come from a culture where men automatically open doors for women, give women their seats when there's no seat available. This is where I come from. In my travels to different countries as an athlete, I realised that not all women have enjoyed the same opportunities that I have. I find it such a huge blessing to be a wife and a mother and be in this world. I really do believe that it's important to have women contributing to the decisions, contributing to the direction of where the world goes. I think that women deserve it not because we are women, but because we are capable of doing all of that.”

“As a member of the IOC’s Olympic Education Commission, my dream is to see ‘Olympism’ in the dictionary. Once the word ‘Olympism’ is in the dictionary, then it means that it's commonly used and people want more of an understanding about the word and how it applies in their lives.” 

“As I go along, it becomes more clear to me that Olympism is a way of being, it's when you have that desire to be the best that you can be. It’s when you do this in a way where you do not step on other people or organisations or rules to get higher than other people. It’s when there is so much joy and fulfilment in doing it that it doesn't feel like work because it just is part of the way you want to be.”

“You can’t be involved in the Games without already practising the Olympic values, whether you know it or not. Being in sport, whether you're an athlete, a coach, a team manager; you've seen what sport is, and I don't think anybody can get to that level without being someone who practises the values of friendship, respect and excellence. I think it becomes all the more important that we send the message that this is not just about medals, it's about how people got here and how other people can reach their dreams, whether or not they're in the world of sport. It’s about how we can do this in a way that we can be proud of our success, and other people can be happy for us.”

“My message to all the athletes in the world would not be to try to learn what Olympism is, but to find it inside themselves because it's already there. If you feel that you've had success because you've tried your best, if you have enjoyed and appreciated that journey, if you've been inspired by someone else, if you want to be a better person every day, not just in your sport but as a human being, that's what Olympism is. And because we have been blessed with these values without even realising, it becomes our job to give that back and to spread the message.”

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