Coverage: UN Women Executive Director at 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Date: Thursday, August 4, 2016

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will be at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 3 – 6 August, highlighting the importance of leadership and participation of women and girls in sport.

The Executive Director will carry the Olympic Torch and be part of a prestigious jury to award a prize during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games on 5 August. Partners since 2012, UN Women and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will co-host an event, together with Always, to celebrate a community-based sport programme that is building leadership and skills of adolescent girls in Brazil as part of the 2016 Rio Olympic legacy.

6 August

UN Women, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Always celebrated at Teatro de Câmara in Cidade das Artes, the ‘One Win Leads to Another’ initiative, which gives an opportunity to adolescent girls living in socially vulnerable contexts to use sport as a tool to reduce gender inequalities and build and maintain confidence in their lives. With the attendance of nearly 200 of the girls participating in the project, the event highlighted the power of sport to change lives and break social stereotypes.

L-R:  Nawal El Moutawakel, Chair of the Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad - Rio de Janeiro 2016; Kunio Umeda, Ambassador of Japan to Brazil ; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director; Juliana Azevedo, Vice President of Procter & Gamble; Alan Abrahamson, Columnist, 3 Wire Sports and NBCOlympics.com ; Adriana Behar, Brazil Olympic Committee Group with girls. Photo: UN Women/Beatrice Frey
L-R: Nawal El Moutawakel, Chair of the Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad - Rio de Janeiro 2016; Kunio Umeda, Ambassador of Japan to Brazil ; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director; Juliana Azevedo, Vice President of Procter & Gamble; Alan Abrahamson, Columnist, 3 Wire Sports and NBCOlympics.com ; Adriana Behar, Brazil Olympic Committee Group with girls. Photo: UN Women/Beatrice Frey

L-R:  Marcelly Vitória de Mendonça, 16, handball, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant; Nawal El Moutawake, Vice-President, International Olympic Committee (IOC); Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director; Juliana Azevedo, Vice President of Procter & Gamble; Kaillana de Oliveira Donato, 14, basketball, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant; Adrielle Alexandre da Silva, 12, ballet and rhythmic gymnastics, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant. Photo: UN Women/Beatrice Frey
L-R: Marcelly Vitória de Mendonça, 16, handball, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant; Nawal El Moutawakel, Chair of the Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad - Rio de Janeiro 2016; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director; Juliana Azevedo, Vice President of Procter & Gamble; Kaillana de Oliveira Donato, 14, basketball, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant; Adrielle Alexandre da Silva, 12, ballet and rhythmic gymnastics, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant. Photo: UN Women/Beatrice Frey

Representing the members of the ‘One Win Leads to Another’ -an Olympic Legacy programme, Kaillana de Oliveira Donato, 14-year-old basketball player; Marcelly Vitória de Mendonça, 16-year-old handball layer and 12-year-old Gymnast Adrielle Alexandre da Silva shared their experience and the profound impact that the programme have had to help them overcome barriers on and outside the games field.

L-R:Kaillana de Oliveira Donato, 14, basketball, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant; Marcelly Vitória de Mendonça, 16, handball player, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant; Adrielle Alexandre da Silva, 12, ballet and rhythmic gymnastics, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant. Photo: UN Women/Beatrice Frey
L-R:Kaillana de Oliveira Donato, 14, basketball, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant; Marcelly Vitória de Mendonça, 16, handball player, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant; Adrielle Alexandre da Silva, 12, ballet and rhythmic gymnastics, ‘One Win Leads to Another’ participant. Photo: UN Women/Beatrice Frey

5 August

Starting at the Botanical Garden, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka carried the Olympic Torch through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, celebrating women’s and girls’ empowerment through sport. Historically, the Olympic Flame represents the value of purity and the runners who carried it convey a message of peace on their journey.

UN Women Executive Director received the Olympic Flame from Prince Albert of Monaco and carried it through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, celebrating women's and girl's empowerment.She handed the Flame to Thiago Firmino, a renowned community activist and favela tour guide at Morro Santa Marta, Brazil. Photo: UN Women/Gustavo Stephan
UN Women Executive Director received the Olympic Flame from Prince Albert of Monaco and carried it through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, celebrating women's and girl's empowerment.She handed the Flame to Thiago Firmino, a renowned community activist and favela tour guide at Morro Santa Marta, Brazil. Photo: UN Women/Gustavo Stephan

The Executive Director emphasized the honour of carrying a message of peace that goes beyond peace agreements or the absence of war; a message of peace that includes the right to live free from fear of violence, free from discrimination and the possibility for women and girls to fulfill their full potential, in their families, communities, work places or sport fields.





A few kilometers ahead, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon received the Olympic Flame, witnessing how sport unites people from all walks of life with the power to transcend the differences of race, gender, religion or nationality. The Secretary-General passed the Flame to Thaiza Vitória, 15-year-old Brazilian handball player and member of the ‘One Win Leads to Another’ programme in Rio de Janeiro.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon passes the Olympic Flame to Thaiza Vitória, (link to her photo essay) a 15-year-old Brazilian handball player and member of the ‘One Win Leads to Another’ programme in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: UN Women/Isabel Clavelin
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon passes the Olympic Flame to Thaiza Vitória, (link to her photo essay) a 15-year-old Brazilian handball player and member of the ‘One Win Leads to Another’ programme in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: UN Women/Isabel Clavelin

Thaiza Vitória, 15-year old handball player and member of 'One Win Leads to Another' programme walk with the Olympic Torch. Photo: UN Women/Isabel Clavelin
Thaiza Vitória, 15-year old handball player and member of 'One Win Leads to Another' programme walk with the Olympic Torch. Photo: UN Women/Isabel Clavelin

Thaiza Vitória walked with the Olympic Torch to amplify the voices of adolescent girls and young women in Brazil and around the world, who are often forced to conform to gender and social stereotypes and share the experiences of the ‘One Win Leads to Another’ programme in Brazil. The programme seeks to train 2,500 under-privileged girls in Rio de Janeiro to develop their leadership skills through sport and improve their ability to influence decisions that impact their lives at all levels. UN Women Executive Director and Nadine Gasman, UN Women Director in Brazil joined hundreds of people cheering for Thaiza on her march.

The Executive Director attended the Olympic Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and was part of a prestigeous jury award. Photo: UN Women/Beatrice Frey

The Executive Director attended the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Photo: UN Women/Beatrice Frey

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka attended the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and was part of a prestigious jury award.

4 August

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka meets with the Mayor of the Olympic Village, Janeth Arcain. Photo: UN Women/Leonardo Dresch
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka meets with the Mayor of the Olympic Village, Janeth Arcain. Photo: UN Women/Leonardo Dresch

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka meets with the Mayor of the Olympic Village, Janeth Arcain. Ms. Arcain, two-times Olympic medalist and former Brazilian basketball champion, showed the Executive Director the facilities that house the 18,000 athletes during the Olympic Games. Celebrating the Olympic spirit, the Executive Director signed the Olympic Truce wall and attended a welcome ceremony for the athletes.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka meets with Susan Greinig, Welfare Officer of the IOC.Photo: UN Women/Gustavo Stephan
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka meets with Susan Greinig, Welfare Officer of the IOC.Photo: UN Women/Gustavo Stephan

During her meeting with Susan Greinig, Welfare Officer of the IOC, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka learned about how the IOC is taking steps to prevent sexual harassment and abuse for athletes, participants and volunteers involved in the Olympic Games. The IOC has taken a firm stand against the issue of sexual abuse and harassment and disseminated tailored messages designed to resonate with the various cultures represented by over 200 countries participating in the Games. It focuses on prevention, while providing on-demand services to investigate such crimes, in cooperation with national law enforcement and judicial authorities in the host country.