El-Moutawakel believes her win helped change the lives of thousands of Muslim women across the world.Previously, it was thought women couldn’t do well in sport, but after her triumph athletics became a possibility for a whole generation. In fact, el-Moutawakel became such an iconic figure for Muslim women that she used to receive letters addressed simply: Nawal el-Moutawakel, Morocco.
“King Hassan II called me right after I crossed the finish line… Someone took me into a special room and said ‘The King is on the phone.’“He said: ‘I am so proud of you. The entire country is going wild. This victory has made us all so happy and proud of you.’ I was speechless. I couldn’t believe he was awake and watching. It was in the early hours in Morocco.”
Source: http://www.leftfootforward.org/2012/08/nawal-el-moutawakel-first-female-muslim-olympic-champion/El Moutawakel’s victory was a surprise to most—running the event in 54.61 seconds, she beat her personal best by 0.76 seconds. But in that moment, the enormity of her accomplishment weighed down her tiny 5-foot-3 frame.The win wasn’t just for herself or even for her country; as the first woman from a Muslim nation to win an Olympic gold medal, she smashed stereotypes and proved human potential is limitless, even for women.Since she won the gold medal in 1984, Muslim women from around the world have competed in the Olympics and won medals. El Moutawakel has closely followed the careers of many, including Ruqaya Al Ghasara, a Bahraini woman who defied Muslim fundamentalists in 2004 when she competed in the Athens games and became the first female athlete to wear a full hijab at the Olympics.