The Middle East's First Museum Dedicated to Sporting Achievements

An inspiring 16-year-old idea to document the history of Olympics and sports
The 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum at Khalifa International Stadium. (Courtesy Qatar Museums).
Torches on display in the Olympic gallery. (Courtesy Qatar Museums).
The museum features seven gallery spaces. (Courtesy Qatar Museums).

3-2-1 The Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, with its interactive exhibitions, inspiring collectibles, and innovative activities that instill the spirit of participation in the hearts of visitors, arose from HH The Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani's 16-year-old idea which was inspired during the 2006 Asian Games, officially known as the XV Asiad.

The Sports Museum takes visitors on an inspiring journey through the history and legacy of sports all over the world, as well as the Olympic Games, and combines a collection of items with cutting-edge technology, as well as documenting the importance of sport in the State of Qatar.

The Museum exhibits highlight the role of sport as one of the most important cultural developments, the history and significance of the Olympic Games in this era, the stories of sports champions from around the world, and the inspiring story of sport's development in Qatar, as well as the tremendous impact of major sporting events organized by Qatar in recent decades.

The museum’s facade evokes the signature rings of the Olympic Games. (Courtesy Qatar Museums).

The effort and creativity of the Spanish architect Joan Sibina, as well as the interconnected halls that used the latest interactive technology methods to express the global history of sports, the emergence of the Olympics, and the culture of sports in Qatar, were on display during a tour of the Museum by Majalla.

The Museum has an area of approximately 19,000 square meters, making it the world's second-largest sports museum after the Museum of America.

The Museum, which is located in the Khalifa International Stadium (one of the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar), aims to inspire and engage its local community, as well as encourage the public to participate in sports and physical activities, through participatory spaces and programs.

The Museum is made up of two structures: the main structure, which follows the arc of the Stadium, and an attached round access building inspired by the Olympic rings.

Aspire Zone, also known as Doha Sports City, is a 250-hectare (2.5 sq. km) sporting complex located in Doha's Baaya district that also includes the Aspire Academy for Qatar's youth, Hamad Aquatic Centre, Aspire Tower, and Doha's largest park, Aspire Park.

The JW Marriott operates the café and restaurant at 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, with menu concepts designed by Chef Consultant Tom Aikens, a UK-born Michelin star chef and avid marathon runner.

Five horizontal rings surround the tubular structure. (Courtesy Qatar Museums).

Naua, the Museum's restaurant, is located on the fourth floor. The restaurant promotes mindful, healthy eating and is named after the Arabic word for the nucleus of the seed. The menu features refined dishes made from fresh, seasonal ingredients. This casual fine-dining establishment is poised to become Doha's premier destination for diners seeking the ultimate fusion of healthy and gourmet fare.

QOSM'S GALLARY SPACES TELL STORIES

QOSM’s seven gallery spaces tell inspiring success stories from sports history and athletes’ lives.

The first gallery space is World of Emotion, which also houses the Museum's reception area and lobby. It provides an overview of the Museum's themes and the significance of sports in Qatar. It features some of the late leader Nelson Mandela's most famous quotes about youth and sports, and visitors are transported to a large stadium complete with two massive screens and a panorama above it. This informative space, which includes a dome, video wall, and an electrifying audio recording, provides an overview of the museum's themes as well as the central role of sport in Qatar.

The Main Lobby is home to the World of Emotions Gallery. (Courtesy Qatar Museums).

The second gallery space, A Global History of Sport, begins with a panorama depicting the practice of sports in various civilizations and cultures, most notably those of ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece.  The images show 12 sports, and visitors can click on any sport to give themselves more information about each sport through audio, visual, and interactive digital screens.

This hall was divided into five wings based on geographical distribution and themes, and contains nearly 100 original holdings and copies dating from the eighth century BC to the early twentieth century. It is divided into historical periods in Europe, Asia, Oceania, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East. Sport has evolved throughout the world as a result of the similarities that prompted societies to develop sports in response to deep human needs.

While the third gallery space, Olympics, takes visitors on a journey from Greek antiquity to the present day, mixing history, archaeology, and contemporary sources, it explores the ancient games that began in 767 BC with the one sport of running, to the birth, prosperity, and growing importance of the modern Olympic Games in our time.

This hall is divided into four sections, the first of which simplifies the context of the cultural and philosophical factors that led to the establishment of the ancient Olympic Games, which lasted approximately a thousand years, and the popularity of the Games in ancient Greece, as well as Olympia's location as a center of sporting, religious, and cultural activity.

In the second area, inside the Olympic Theater in the showroom, there is an immersive video show that tells the story of the modern Olympic Games' birth in the late 18th century, and it presents the geopolitical, social, and technological factors that enabled figures such as French Baron Pierre de Coubertin to contribute to the Olympic Games' revival.

The museum is comprised of two sections. (Courtesy Qatar Museums).

The third region displays every torch from the Summer and Winter Olympics since their inception in Germany in 1936. This region contains 23 torches from the beginning of the Summer and Winter Olympics until 2016, as well as the history of the Olympic cauldrons, including the presentation of the first Olympic cauldron in Amsterdam in 1928, the first Olympic cauldron in Asia in Tokyo in 1964, and the cauldron of the London Olympics in 2012.

THE THREE OLYMPIC VALUES

The final region highlights the modern Olympic Games history, legacy, and three moral values - friendship, respect, and excellence - as represented by Qatari runner Mutaz Barshim who shared the high jump gold with his Italian colleague Gianmarco Tamberi, and the ways in which the spirit of the Games can be preserved.

This section included a wall of memorabilia which were acquired by athletes who participated in the 1896 Olympics to the 2021 Olympics, as well as Olympic medals and emblems, and amulets that first appeared in the Olympics in 1972 in Munich, Germany, with the "dog" amulet.

The fourth gallery space, The Hall of Athletes, is a tribute to sporting legends from around the world. Visitors can meet old and new heroes and be inspired and amazed by their journeys and accomplishments. This gallery features 90 athletes from around the world and the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, representing a wide range of international sports on three floors. A series of eye-catching displays will be included, each focusing on a different athlete and including informative text as well as intriguing or awe-inspiring objects (both authentic and replicas).

Hey’Ya Arab Women in Sports features photographs by Brigitte Lacombe (Courtesy Qatar Museums).

These displays include world champion offshore racer Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, Sheikh Ali bin Khalid al-Thani, the best Asian horse rider in 2017, and Nasser Al-Attiyah, the world champion in rally, and Mutaz Barshim, the world champion and gold medalist in Tokyo 2021, weightlifter Fares Ibrahim Saed Hassouna El-Bakh, Qatar's first Olympic gold medalist, sprinter Mohammed Suleiman, Qatar's first medalist at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, and Bahia Mansour Al Hamad, the first Qatari athlete to compete in the Olympics.

The stories of the athletes broadcast and ignite feelings of passion, motivation, and determination, in addition to stories told by the pioneering men and women who were the first to compete and win for their country, religion, gender, age group, or race, most notably Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first veiled Muslim American athlete to compete in the Olympic Games in Rio 2016.

This gallery serves as a platform for athletes who have overcome enormous obstacles to achieve success, and whose reputation has transcended the boundaries of sports, and whose public image has become a powerful symbol.

QATAR- HOSTING NATION

The fifth gallery space, Qatar – Hosting Nation, discusses how major sporting events hosted by the State of Qatar in recent decades have become a source of global interest and national pride. The 2006 Doha Asian Games were the first major sporting event organized by a Gulf country, and they were one of the most successful Asian Games ever held.  Qatar hosted 45 countries for 424 events and 39 sports.

Visitors will learn how the Asian Games accelerated Qatar's development as a host nation, as well as how the event has accelerated the country's urban transformation, creating a world-class sports infrastructure worthy of hosting superstar sports and their global audiences.

This gallery contains seven display cases that showcase a variety of experiences such as motorsports, equestrian, tennis, athletics, handball, football, and AASAD 2006. Each case evokes the most memorable moments of Qatar's global events in this sport, as well as its enduring legacy.

This gallery features informative video presentations that trace the history of Khalifa International Stadium from its inception in 1976 to the launch of the World Athletics Championships in 2019 and its renewal to host World Cup matches in 2022.

One of the jerseys worn by Brazilian Pelé is on display at the new 3-2-1 Olympic and Sports Museum, inaugurated on March 30 in Doha. (Photo: AFP/VNA/CVN).

The sixth gallery space, Qatar Sports, tells the inspiring story of Qatar's sports development, from traditional games to the arrival of international sport and the growth of international competitions. Looking ahead to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, the gallery examines how sports have been and continue to be important to Qatar's development.

The gallery also brings to life Qatar's long-established sports activities, such as falconry, pearl diving, and camel racing, by investigating how these sports are reflected in Qatar's oral traditions and demonstrating how they are linked to Qatar's heritage and landscape.

Visitors will ride a virtual school bus that will take them on a journey exploring how sport has become central to the curriculum, and they will also be able to experience the drama of important sporting events and hear the stories of their heroes through a series of interactive digital installations.

This gallery also depicts events that are still etched in the collective memory of the country, such as the first Arab Gulf Cup championship in 1970 and visits by sports champions Muhammad Ali and Pele, as well as the construction of the famous Khalifa Stadium in 1976, which was a watershed moment in Qatar's sports history.

Also displayed are the birth of football in Qatar and the construction of the Doha Stadium, the country's first stadium, the most important sporting events hosted by Qatar, the history of Qatari clubs, and Qatar's participation in the Olympics.

Finally, the seventh hall, Activation Zone, is the museum's final stop for visitors, encouraging the adoption of healthy and active lifestyles and promoting physical activity throughout Qatar.  Visitors are invited to walk through six spaces inspired by Qatar's landscape. Visitors will take part in a variety of fun challenges as they explore the park, the market and desert, the beach, the city, and finally the arena.

 

The museum’s Activation Zone. (Courtesy Qatar Museums).

This interactive experience begins with the inspiring stories of people who made the decision to live a healthy and active lifestyle, most notably Ghanim Al Muftah, a Qatari boy prodigy born with caudal retraction syndrome.


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