Michelle Yeoh, the first Asian actress to win an Oscar, joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday after being voted in as a member at a ceremony in Mumbai.
She was one of eight new proposed members to join the Olympic body at its session in the Indian city.
“I remember when someone asked me, how did you become an actress? I always said, ‘I never dreamt of being an actress, but as a child I always dreamt of being an Olympian,’” a beaming Yeoh told reporters after taking the oath as an IOC member.
“Sports was very much part of my life growing up, I was very much involved with squash, athletics, swimming and diving.
“It has always been there and growing, but how do I find a way to join this (IOC) family? They are very tight-knit and also they have to be very sure that you share their passion, you share their commitment and ideology,” Yeoh said.
A former Malaysian junior squash champion, Yeoh won the Oscar for best lead actress earlier this year for her role in the film, ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’.
Yeoh’s favourite sport when she was growing up was squash. “But then two knee surgeries, a bad back,” she added.
She joins judoka Yael Arad, who won Israel’s first Olympic medal, Hungarian businessman and sports administrator Balasz Furjes, Cecilia Roxana Tait Villacorta, a former Olympic volleyball medallist and politician from Peru, and German sports entrepreneur Michael Mronz as the five new individual members.
Furjes and Mronz have also led efforts, unsuccessful so far, to get the Olympics to Hungary and back to Germany respectively.
Sweden’s Petra Soerling, head of the International Table Tennis Federation, and South Korean Kim Jae-youl, president of the International Skating Union, joined through their function as heads of an international federation.
Mehrez Boussayene, President of the Tunisian Olympic Committee, also joined.
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