* 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum cemented Qatar’s role as a major international sporting hub, hosting more than 500 key sporting events over the past 15 years, according to its president HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ali al-Thani
Qatar Museums (QM) puts a spotlight on sports and the Olympic Games’ rich history and legacy with the opening today (March 31) of one of the world’s most innovative and technologically advanced museums dedicated to sports.
The 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, under the patronage of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, offers interactive exhibits and an array of rare and notable collections that celebrate the achievements of sports, the athletes, and this major global event.
Designed by Spanish architect Joan Sibina, the museum occupies around 19,000 sqm at the Khalifa International Stadium at Aspire Zone Foundation, making it one of the largest of its kind.
“This is the first Arab institution to become part of the Olympic Museum Network, joining Qatar to other nations around the world in a shared commitment to the values of a modern Olympic movement,” said QM Chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayasa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani at recent press preview of the museum. She was joined by 3-2-1 president HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ali al-Thani and director Abdulla y al-Mulla.
“As the founder of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, once wrote: ‘the most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part, the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well’. This is an ideal that we both honour and put into practice at the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, making this an institution of the highest significance.”
Some of the highlights include the boxing glove (left hand) used by Cassius Clay (Mohamed Ali) in 1960 during the Olympic Games in Rome – where he bagged the gold medal in the heavyweight category.
HE Sheikha Al-Mayassa said: “these are particularly meaningful to the people of Qatar who still remember how Ali came here in 1971 on a tour of the Middle East and fought in an exhibition at the Doha Stadium, the first grass stadium in the Middle East”.
The QM Chairperson noted that each object in the collection at the museum has its own story tell such as the trophy won by His Highness the Amir when he was a tennis champion.
“Another iconic object that captured the historic moment is the jumpsuit worn by Nawal El Moutawakel at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles when she thrilled Muslim Arab and female athletes around the world by winning the very first Women’s 400 Metre Hurdles (event) in the Olympics,” HE Sheikha Al-Mayassa said.
Other items on display include Formula 1 that Michael Schumacher drove in 2000, the basketball autographed by the US Dream Team during the 1992 Olympics qualifying tournament. It included sporting legends like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler, and Scottie Pippen, among other players.
“The opening of the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum alongside the FIFA Congress is a symbol of the importance of sports in Qatar National Vision 2030. The museum belongs to the Olympic Museums Network, and is a legacy project of the Doha Asian Games 2006.
“The 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, comes after Qatar’s outstanding performance at the Tokyo Olympics, and just before we host the World Cup in November 2022. Culture and sports are two sides of the same coin, and there is no better time to celebrate our nation’s investments in both culture and sports – two pillars that also support Qatar’s investments in Education and Health.
“The opening promises to celebrate the Qatari athletes with the world; a testament of the leadership of His Highness the Amir in focusing on developing people in all fields,”HE Sheikha Al Mayasa said in a statement.
Through its participatory spaces and programming, QM noted that 3-2-1 aims to inspire and engage its community and encourage the public to take part in sports and physical activity.
The Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage director and Olympic Museum Network (OMN) chair Angelita Teo said: “Having the brand new 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum join the Olympic Movement in promoting the Olympic Games and Olympic Values is a great source of excitement. I send my best wishes to the management and operating teams for the culmination of this ambitious project, and I hope to visit it in the near future.”
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ali al-Thani said: “We will be opening the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum at an incredible moment in the history of sports within our own nation as Qatar prepares to welcome more than a million tourists for the FIFA World Cup.
He said that Qatar cemented its role as a major international sporting hub in recent years, hosting more than 500 key sporting events such as football, tennis, table tennis, athletics, gymnastics, and swimming, among other major international competitions, over the past 15 years.
The 3-2-1 director noted that 3-2-1 is comprised of seven gallery spaces, housing objects from around the globe, and from the origins of sports to the present day.


The galleries, organised under the direction of Kevin Moore, PhD, deputy director of Curatorial Affairs, are:

• “World of Emotion,” the first gallery space visitors will encounter, serves as the Museum’s reception area and lobby. It provides an overview of the Museum’s themes and the central role of sports in Qatar.

• “A Global History of Sport” is a journey through the history of sports across the globe from ancient to modern times. The gallery includes nearly 100 objects and reproductions, ranging from the 8th century BCE to the early 20th century, accompanied by graphics, audio-visual and interactive digital elements. The gallery is organised into geographic and thematic sections, focusing on different historical periods in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East.

• “Olympics” takes visitors from the ancient Olympic Games through to the birth of the modern Olympics and their growth and significance today. The gallery features a display of every torch from the Summer and Winter Olympic Games from 1936 onwards. Within the gallery’s Olympic Theatre is an immersive video that tells the story of the birth of the modern Olympics and introduces the geopolitical, social, and technological factors that enabled individuals, most notably Pierre de Coubertin, to revive the Olympic Games.

• “The Hall of Athletes” is a celebration of sporting heroes from around the world. Here visitors can meet heroes, old and new, and be inspired and amazed by their journeys and achievements. Across three floors, this gallery will profile 90 athletes from across the world and the 20th and 21st centuries, representing a wide range of international sports. Included will be a series of eye-catching displays, each focusing on a different athlete and will include informative text as well as intriguing or awe-inspiring objects (both historic and replicas).

• “Qatar – Hosting Nation” explores how the mega sports events hosted by Qatar in recent decades have become a matter of global fascination and national pride. The gallery invites visitors to explore Qatar’s outstanding reputation as a host for international sporting events starting with the Asian Games Doha 2006 and to revisit the most memorable moments of world-class events that the nation has held, including those at Khalifa Stadium since its opening in 1976.

• “Qatar Sports” presents the inspiring story of the development of sports in Qatar, from traditional games through to the arrival of international sport and the development of international competitions. The gallery explores how sports has been and continues to be essential to the development of Qatar, looking ahead to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. The gallery also brings to life Qatar's long-established sports activities such as falconry, pearl diving and camel racing, exploring how these sports are reflected in Qatar’s oral traditions and illustrating how they are connected to Qatar’s heritage and landscape.

• The “Activation Zone” promotes physical activity across Qatar and encourages the adoption of healthy and active lifestyles. Visitors are invited to walk through six spaces that evoke the landscape of Qatar. As they discover the park, the market and desert, the beach, city and finally the arena, visitors will participate in a variety of fun challenges.

According to QM, the museum is collaborating with the International Physical Literacy Association to build a National Physical Literacy Journey to encourage the community to adopt a healthy lifestyle and engage in physical activities. It also partnered with Accessible Qatar, a Doha based advocacy group that supports promoting Qatar as an accessible destination to ensure that its facilities are fully accessible.
Generous support has been provided by the Qatar Olympic Committee, Aspire Zone Foundation, Supreme Committee of Legacy and Delivery and Olympic Museums Network. The opening of 3-2-1 is sponsored by Ooredoo.
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