The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced the winners of the IOC Women and Sport Awards 2021. Delivered every year at continental and world level, the awards recognise exceptional men, women and organisations for their work in advancing gender equality on and off the field of play.

The World Award was presented to Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko during the 139th IOC Session in Beijing. An experienced and prominent sports leader, politician, and seven-time Olympian, Hashimoto has disrupted and challenged many well-established gender norms in Japan to advance gender equality and inclusion in sport.

IOC President Thomas Bach and Chair of the IOC Women in Sport Commission Lydia Nsekera presented Hashimoto, who was present to deliver the final report on the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, with her award. They also announced the continental winners.

Winner for Africa: Natsiraishe Maritsa (Zimbabwe)

Winner for the Americas: Figure Skating in Harlem (USA)

Winner for Asia: Zhang Xia (China)

Winner for Europe: Kari Fasting (Norway)

Winner for Oceania: Tracey Holmes (Australia)

Reflecting on the role of sport in advancing gender equality, President Bach said: “One of the highlights of the success story of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was that these were the most gender-balanced Olympic Games in history. We, the IOC, could ensure this by allocating the respective quota and qualification systems. This gives me the opportunity to thank our International Federations for their great cooperation in achieving this milestone.

“This sent a powerful signal that the Olympic Games are always about bringing all people together without any discrimination: regardless of gender, race, background, religion or political belief. This commitment to inclusion and universality gives sport the power to challenge social norms and set the tone for social change. For all these reasons, a key mission of the IOC is to promote women in sport at all levels. Our focus is not only to advance gender equality on and off the field of play, but also to empower women and girls through sport. For over 20 years, the IOC Women and Sport Award recognises and celebrates the many people and organisations that help us realising this mission.”

Addressing Hashimoto, the IOC President explained that, with the unprecedented postponement of the Tokyo Games, “it needed someone like you to lead these Olympic Games to success. Someone with a proven track record of challenging the status quo. Fighting for gender equality. Pushing the boundaries for more inclusion. Shattering glass ceilings for more diversity. In other words, a true champion with an unwavering commitment to promote the Olympic spirit in everything you do. 

“This is why I hope this award will put a spotlight on your important work to empower women and girls in and through sport. More importantly, I hope that this will only motivate you to continue to be a driver for change,” Bach added.

Receiving her trophy, Hashimoto said: “I have been committed to promoting gender equality throughout my career and it is an honour for me to see that these efforts are being recognised today with this Trophy. I will do my best to continue to contribute to the positive change in our society through the power of sport, and welcome your continuous guidance”. 


Celebrating role models since 2000

Introduced in 2000, the IOC Women and Sport Awards celebrate remarkable role models and change-makers in advancing gender equality and inclusion. Each year, six trophies are awarded, one for each of the five continents and one at world level, in support of outstanding contributions to women’s and girls’ participation in sport.

A symbol of opportunity, recognition and empowerment, there have been 128 recipients from 67 countries across the world since the Awards’ introduction. The winners are also eligible for a grant to support and further their positive impact through projects aimed at advancing gender equality.

This year’s winners were selected from among 26 shortlisted candidates by the IOC Women in Sport Commission. The full list can be found here.

For more information on the winners, please click here.

For additional information about the IOC’s work to foster gender equality in and through sport, please click here.