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Sofia Bekatorou
Olympic Gold Medalist, Greece

The first female flag bearer to lead the Greek Olympic team, at Rio 2016, Sofia Bekatorou is Greece’s most successful female athlete, winning two Olympic medals – one gold at Athens 2004, and one bronze at Beijing 2008 – as well as ten World and European Championship titles. She was also twice voted Female World Sailor of the Year by the International Sailing Governing Body (World Sailing). Sofia has competed in four different Olympic classes, and during 2018–2019 was preparing to compete in her fifth and most difficult class to date – the Nacra 17 performance catamaran. Following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Sofia decided to return to the class that brought her greatest sporting victories – the 470 – only this time as a crew member under the helm of the highly promising athlete Dimitra Pagida, thus passing on the torch of her own knowledge and experience as captain. She trained the Russian Elliott 6m sailing team for the London 2012 Olympics, where they came in fourth. Sofia Bekatorou is the only woman to have overseen tactics and strategy for offshore competitive sailing vessels.

Between 2016 and 2018, she combined the experience she acquired at such international tournaments as the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race with the knowledge she gained as a Psychology graduate of the Panteion University to create an educational syllabus for schools – an interactive program for the teaching of sailing. As part of her volunteer work in service of society, Sofia has visited women’s jails to lift inmates’ spirits, has led a charity drive to benefit a network for the prevention of violence against women, is actively involved in events organized by the “Alma Zois” Hellenic Association of Women with Breast Cancer, and is an ambassador of the Voluntary Ministry of Hospital Patients NGO. Last but not least, Sofia is a volunteer ambassador of the “Elpida” Friends of Children with Cancer Association, the Global Sustain management consulting agency that responsibly supports the charity work of three Greek NGOs each year, and the HOPEgenesis NPO that supports childbirth across Greece.

Sofia Bekatorou has contributed to the development of Greek sport as a member of the Board of Advisors of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC), as President of the HOC’s “Women and Sport” Committee, and internationally as an active member of World Sailing committees. She was elected and is currently serving as Vice-President of World Sailing’s Athlete’s Commission, and participates in activities and events organized by the International Olympic Committee. As a member of the Hellenic Olympic Winners Association, and with the help of initiatives run by the HOC, the Hellenic Olympic Academy (ETHNOA), the International Olympic Truce Center, and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, Sofia has contributed to the spread of Olympic values and the notion of fair play, visiting dozens of schools in Greece and around the world.

In 2021, Sofia became a figurehead of the Greek #MeToo movement by going public her own experiences, thus breaking the silence that existed in Greek society on matters of sexual abuse, and the abuse of power. Above all, Sofia is the mother of two children (aged 12 and 9), striving each day to meet life’s demands, and to inspire by example.