The London Olympics are off and running! Keep up with the medal count here. Also check out this piece in the L.A. Times about pioneering female athletes from three Muslim countries -- Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei -- that bowed to international pressure and sent women to the Games for the very first time. This summer marks the first time every team has at least one woman on the roster. More:
Qatar, which has been eager to host an Olympics, brought Al Hamad, swimmer Nada Mohammed WS Arakji, sprinter Noor Hussain Al-Malki and table tennis player Aia Mohamed. They chose Al Hamad to carry their flag in the opening ceremony.
Brunei similarly named its lone woman, runner Maziah Mahusin, as flag bearer. Saudi Arabia, which had its women marching noticeably at the rear of the delegation, did not seem as eager to make a shift.
...Under continued IOC insistence, they agreed to bring judoka Wojdan Shaherkani and runner Sarah Attar, a dual citizen who grew up in Southern California and runs for Pepperdine.
"A big inspiration for participating in the Olympic Games is being one of the first women for Saudi Arabia to be going," Attar said in an IOC news release. "It's such a huge honor and I hope that it can really make some big strides for women over there to get more involved in sport."
Saudi officials did not respond to requests for an interview with Attar in London. The Qataris have promised to make their female athletes available this week.