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Jordan's Prince Feisal Visits Olympic Team in Athens - 2004-08-20

The 2004 Olympics is drawing not just athletes to the Greek city of Athens, but dignataries from all over the world as well. Former President Bush, father of the current president, met with American athletes last week, British Prime Minister Tony Blair attended opening ceremonies and as president of the Jordan Olympic Committee, Prince Feisal Bin al Hussein went to the Olympics to cheer Jordanian athletes on to victory.

Whether the Jordanians take home a medal or not remains to be seen. But Prince Feisal is happy to be involved in the Olympic dreams of Jordanian athletes. And, he told VOA's Rebecca Ward he and his brother - Jordan's King Hussein - actively promote athletics for both women and men.

WARD: Prince Feisal, you were a college athlete in the United States, and now are President of Jordan's Olympic Committee. I have to ask you about women and sports. I attended a press conference earlier this week, where the Belgian officials that were there were calling on Saudi Arabia to allow women to participate. What is Jordan doing, its sports federations, to encourage female participation in the Arab world?

PRINCE FEISAL: ?Well, I think we've got very good participation in Jordan. We're actually quite lucky. Half of our team here is comprised of women. We've seen women progressing in a number of different sports -- basketball, handball, badminton, even the martial arts. Of our two Tae Kwon Do athletes, one is a female. So we're seeing a far greater acceptance. But in Jordan in general, there has been a lot of moves to allow women to be equal partners and to take an equal and active participation in all activities.?

WARD: How does sports help promote goodwill among the international community?

PRINCE FEISAL: ?We've come to the games, as the Jordan Olympic Committee, with the slogan that peace is greater than gold. We believe that being able to come together to share in our humanity, our common humanity, build bonds of understanding, of friendships, going out there and fighting the fair fight. And it doesn't matter at the end of the day which individual walks away with a gold medal, because we're all that much richer for it. And that is I think one of the true powers of the Olympics and I think sports in general.?

WARD: Thank you so much. It was such a pleasure.

PRINCE FEISAL: ?It's been a real pleasure. Thank you very much.?

Prince Feisal of Jordan is the president of the Jordanian Olympic Committee. He spoke with VOA's Rebecca Ward in Athens.