Saudis Add Females in Big Olympics for Women

It's sending 2 female athletes to London Games
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2012 7:34 AM CDT
Saudi Add Females in Big Olympics for Women
Saudi Arabia's Sarah Attar will compete in the 800m race. Pictured here: the women's 800 meter run final during Day Four of the 2012 US Olympic Track & Field Team Trials, June 25, 2012.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – London 2012 is shaping up to be the year of the woman. Three big Olympic firsts are set to happen when the Games kick off in a few weeks:

  • Saudi Arabia will indeed send female athletes to the Olympics, announced the IOC today, putting an end to its males-only history. Two female Saudi competitors will be vying for gold: judo athlete Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani and 800-meter runner Sarah Attar.

  • With Saudi Arabia's move and previously announced identical moves by Qatar (which has even elected to have a woman bear its flag at the opening ceremony) and Brunei, every single country competing at the Olympics will for the first time include female athletes, reports the AP.
  • And a notable first out of the good old USA: Women will outnumber men on the Olympic team for the first time ever, 269 to 261, reports the AP. The oldest and youngest Americans competing happen to be women, too: 54-year-old equestrian rider Karen O'Connor, and 15-year-old swimmer Katie Ledecky.
(Read more women stories.)

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