Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski may be remembered by the public for her movies, musicals, and television appearances during her younger years, but we all know her best for her heart of gold and her dedication to helping the underprivileged and the environment. This multi-faceted lady served for the Pasig Rehabilitation Commission, World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines, Gawad Kalinga Foundation for Nation Building, and the AnakTV Foundation for Child Sensitive Television, among many others.
But who could ever forget her winning moments at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea where she was able to take home gold and silver medals for the country? Her sports career as an equestrienne put the country on the map of the said discipline and eventually, she joined the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney Australia as chef d'equipe and coach of the Philippine Jumping Team, and team manager of the team jumping competition at the 2011 South East Asian (SEA) Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
With her clinching the gold medal at the 2005 SEA Games—where she was also our one of our flag bearers—and later in 2011 earning the champion title of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) World Dressage Challenge in Elementary for FEI Zone 9, the future of her athletic career seemed bright for her.
However, God had a different plan.
I truly believe that sports is a wonderful tool for personality development and nation-building.— Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski
Fast forward to 2020, Mikee was elected to the executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), making history as the first Asian woman to hold such a seat on the world's most prestigious corporation in the field of sports. With her tenure as founding member and now president of the Equestrian Association of the Philippines, to name one from her roster of offices held in the sports administration, and as a member of the IOC since 2013, she was able to secure enough votes at the election that was done virtually in July of that year.
Mikee said to Tatler that she really veered away from interviews at the time because she wanted the public to focus on our Filipino Olympians instead, particularly Hidilyn Diaz. Moreover, she thought that the people should have a better understanding of the structure behind the governing bodies in the world of sports to come up with more educated opinions, especially that the country's support in sports has been one of the hottest topics over social media today.
The Olympic Movement, as Mikee explained, is the overall work of three main constituents: the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Sports Federations (IFs), and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs). The pinnacle of all their efforts is the Olympic games, which brings together the world's athletes to play fairly and exhibit their talents and skills.
"The Philippine Sports Commission is a government agency, while the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC, which is our NOC) is a private organisation, and the IOC is the head of the Olympic Movement and owner of the Olympic games," she explained. "The IOC recognises countries through their NOCs, which is the gateway for Filipino athletes to be able to represent the country in international competitions under the auspices of the IOC. The IOC also recognise international federations, which local counterparts are collectively known as national sports associations (NSAs)," she continued. "This is how we operate, and I have not seen in any part of the world a country that has been successful without the cooperation and contributions of the government, the Olympic committees, the private sector, and the athletes themselves, especially through NSAs," she said.
"We do want sports to get more attention, we want sports to become more of interest to the general public," Mikee agreed. "But we do not just want them to form better opinions but to practice sports themselves," she stated.