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Michelle Kwan calls for equal opportunity for women, girls

Updated: 2015-03-17 09:55

UNITED NATIONS - Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan Monday shared her life experiences at the UN headquarters, calling for equal opportunity for women and girls to play and to dream.

Kwan, a five-time world champion and double Olympic medallist, said she consider herself "one of the lucky ones who have really gained a lot through sports."

At an event featuring "the Place of Sport for Women's Empowerment Post-2015", she noted that people don't have to be an Olympian or a professional athlete to have learned important skills and life lesions through sports.

"Sports teach you about hard work, dedication, team work, discipline and perseverance. For me, it was skating in front of millions of people and falling down in front of millions of people and having to pick yourself up and keep going. These are life- changing experiences that make you stronger, make you prepared for whatever and wherever life takes you," she said.

Kwan talked about her travel to many countries after being appointed as US public diplomacy envoy in 2006, as well as her current role as an adviser at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US State Department.

Through the interactions with young people of many countries, she said, she witnessed the benefits of women and girls getting the opportunity to play.

"It's not about giving a girl a ball to play with. It is so much more than that. It is giving a girl a chance, an opportunity to dream," she said.

Citing UN reports, she stressed that girls who play sports experience increased achievement in many areas. "When women and girls are able to fully participate in sports, in society, in school and in the work place, they help create stronger and more stable communities."

"We can all be that voice to ensure that all women and girls have the equal opportunity to a brighter future," she said.

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