1916 - 2014

HALET CAMBEL

The Olympic Museum

First Muslim woman at the Games

Halet Cambel, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
CHANGE-MAKERS 
While individuals may encounter difficulties in life simply because of their gender, skin colour, religion or country of origin, the Games, with the diversity of the athletes who take part, champion the right to be different.   Participating at the Games may not change the world, but it can certainly help make a difference.
Halet Cambel, 1936-08-04, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum

HALET CAMBEL (TUR, FENCING) - 1916-2014

When a mask replaced the veil.

In 1936 in Berlin, there was nothing to differentiate Halet Cambel, a Muslim athlete, from the other female Olympians.

Her participation in the individual foil event was a testament to the opening-up of her country, Turkey, and the secularism promoted by the Turkish President, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who advocated abolishing the veiling of women.

At the Games, it was a fencing mask that covered her face.

In later years, the situation was very different for Morocco’s Nawal El Moutawakel (Los Angeles 1984) and Algeria’s Hassiba Boulmerka (Barcelona 1992): both defied the religious restrictions in their respective countries by running in shorts and with their heads uncovered.

When a mask replaced the veil
Halet Cambel, 1936-08-04, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
Credits: Story

Take a look at other inspiring Change-Maker portraits in our webdoc.
change-makers.blog-tom.com


Useful information about The Olympic Museum in Lausanne www.olympic.org/museum

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