Life-size Lego statue of Belgian athlete Nafissatou Thiam inaugurated for world girl day
A life-size statue of double Olympic heptathlete Nafissatou Thiam, made out of Lego, was inaugurated at Brussels Central station for world girl day as part of the Lego group's ’Get ready for girls’ campaign and the International Day of the Girl Child.
It was an opportunity for Thiam, one of Belgium’s most successful athletes, to comment on the role of women in sport.
The double Olympic champion and world champion told the Belga news agency: "The goal of the 'Get ready for girls' campaign is to show girls that they belong everywhere in sport. For me, sport is still very masculine. The idea is to give them the desire to dream, show them that they can do whatever they want and that there is no limit to what is possible.”
Too few women in decision-making roles
The 28-year-old took the opportunity to reflect on the advances needed in women's sport. While she considered the participation of women in the Olympic Games to be balanced, she was critical of other areas. “I think that there is still a lot of progress to be made for everything around it. That’s to say in coaching where there are still very few women, in decision-making roles, in federations, where there are still big differences of equality in salaries.”
Thiam also raised the problem of prejudice surrounding how women’s bodies are viewed. “It's good that there is this kind of initiative to talk about it and open the conversation because that's how progress continues," she added.
The heptathlete is aware th Novemat her notoriety is an opportunity to change opinion. "I was a young girl myself. I started the sport at the age of six and I think it's also a bit of my responsibility to inspire these young girls, to push them to believe that they are able to find their place in sport, but also in general in any world that interests them."
Nine out of 10 statues in Belgium are of men
The statue on temporary display at Brussels Central station is a symbolic tribute as nine of 10 statues of personalities in Belgium are men, according to a survey carried out by the iVOX design office for the Lego group.
A total of 19,000 Lego pieces and 110 hours of work were needed to build the statue. It remained on show until 17 October before going on display at the Lego Store on Rue Neuve in Brussels until 30 November.
Photo: Nafi Thiam with Lego statue in Liège ©Belga/Bruno Fahy
This article was updated on 9 November