Ghada Shouaa

Ghada Shouaa (Arabic: غادة شعاع; born September 10, 1972) is a retired Syrian heptathlete. At the 1996 Summer Olympics, she won her country's first and only Olympic gold medal.[1]

Ghada Shouaa
Personal information
Born (1972-09-10) September 10, 1972 (age 50)
Mhardeh, Hama Governorate, Syria
Height1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight63 kg (139 lb)


Born in the small Syrian city of Mhardeh in the Hama Governorate, Shouaa's first sport was basketball.[2] She played on the Syrian national team for a few years, but then decided to compete in athletics. She did her first heptathlon in 1991, and was immediately sent to the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, where she placed last.[2] She concluded her first athletics season with a silver medal in the Asian championships.

Shouaa debuted at the Olympics in the 1992 Barcelona Games, placing 25th in spite of an injury. Her breakthrough did not come until 1995, when she won the important heptathlon meet in Götzis, scoring 6715 points. This boosted her to one of the favourites for the title at the 1995 World Championships, held in Gothenburg. After co-favorite Sabine Braun dropped out with an injury, Shouaa won the title with a comfortable margin.[2]

The following season, Shouaa again won the Götzis meet, bringing the still-standing Asian record to 6942 points. In Atlanta, three months later, she confirmed her status as the best heptathlete at the time, winning Syria's first Olympic gold medal.[2]

A serious injury ruined the following season, and she was unable to make a serious comeback until 1999, when she placed third at the World Championships behind Eunice Barber.[2] Shouaa attempted to defend her Olympic title in Sydney, but she again became injured and did not even finish the first event.[2] After this disappointment, she decided to retire from athletics.

Civil War in SyriaEdit

During a visit to Syria in 2013 or 2014 in the midst of civil war, Shouaa appeared in a picture with a heavy machine gun while accompanying the National Defence Forces, a branch of Syrian Armed Forces.[3] In a speech, Shouaa greeted the Syrian Arab Army, saying the army's motto 'Homeland, Honor, Honesty' represents "each and every honest Syrian from which he/she draws the ability for steadfastness and making achievements for Syria's sake".[4]

She now lives in Germany.[5]

Competition recordEdit

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing   Syria
1991 World Championships Tokyo, Japan 24th Heptathlon 5066 pts
Asian Championships Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2nd Heptathlon 5425 pts
Arab Championships Latakia, Syria 1st High jump 1.60 m
1st Long jump 5.50 m
1st Javelin throw 41.92 m
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain 25th Heptathlon 5278 pts
1993 Mediterranean Games Narbonne, France 8th Long jump 6.13 m
2nd Heptathlon 6168 pts
World Championships Stuttgart, Germany Heptathlon DNF
Arab Championships Latakia, Syria 1st 800 m 2:14.7
1st 100 m hurdles 14.44 s
1st High jump 1.75 m
1st Long jump 6.07 m
1st Javelin throw 50.54 m
Asian Championships Manila, Philippines 1st Heptathlon 6259 pts
1994 Goodwill Games St. Petersburg, Russia 3rd Heptathlon 6361 pts
Asian Games Hiroshima, Japan 1st Heptathlon 6360 pts
1995 World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 1st Heptathlon 6651 pts
Arab Championships Cairo, Egypt 1st High jump 1.80 m
1st Long jump 6.64 m
1st Javelin throw 53.72 m
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, United States 1st Heptathlon 6780 pts
1999 Pan Arab Games Amman, Jordan 1st High jump 1.78 m
2nd Long jump 6.19 m
2nd Shot put 16.25 m
1st Javelin throw 55.14 m
World Championships Seville, Spain 3rd Heptathlon 6500 pts
2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia Heptathlon DNF

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Ghada Shouaa". Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ghada Shouaa". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-22.
  3. ^ "بعد أن "طفشها" نظام الأسد... غادة شعاع تتحول من بطلة أولمبية إلى "رامية دوشكا" في الدفاع الوطني (صور) | عكس السير دوت كوم".
  4. ^ "Olympic champion Shouaa: I returned home to work for a brighter future for #Syria". Syrian Arab News Agency SANA – Facebook. 16 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2022-02-26.
  5. ^ "Syrian sports heroine laments her country's ill treatment". Arab News. 30 August 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2016.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by Women's Heptathlon Best Year Performance
Succeeded by
Olympic Games
Preceded by Flagbearer for   Syria
Atlanta 1996
Succeeded by