LONDON — Every country competing at the London Games will include female athletes for the first time in Olympic history after Saudi Arabia agreed Thursday to send two women to compete in judo and track and field.
The move by the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom to break with its practice of fielding male-only teams followed similar decisions by Qatar and Brunei.
Saudi Arabia had been under intense pressure from the International Olympic Committee and human-rights groups to include female athletes. Thursday’s announcement followed months of IOC negotiations with the Saudis.
The two female Saudi athletes are Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in judo and 800-meter runner Sarah Attar.
“A big inspiration for participating in the Olympic Games is being one of the first women for Saudi Arabia to be going,” the 17-year-old Attar said in an IOC statement from her U.S. training base in San Diego.
“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.”
The two athletes, who were invited by the IOC, were entered by the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee by the July 9 deadline.
The Gulf kingdom will also include female officials in their Olympic delegation for the first time.
The U.S. uniforms for the Olympics are American red, white and blue – but made in China. And that has congressional leaders outraged.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the U.S. Olympic Committee should be ashamed of itself. He suggested Thursday they toss the uniforms into a big pile and burn them.
Then U.S. textile plants could make the navy blue blazers with the team patch, cream-colored skirts and navy berets with red and white stripes.
Reid says the industry is desperate for jobs.
The uniforms were designed by American Ralph Lauren. Nike created many competition uniforms.
Michael Jordan said there’s no way Kobe Bryant and this year’s USA Olympic basketball team could’ve beaten the 1992 Dream Team.
Jordan told The Associated Press that he laughed, “I absolutely laughed” when hearing Bryant’s comments that the squad could take Jordan and Co.
Jordan says there was “no comparison” which team was better, adding that Bryant comparing the two teams “is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done.”
He says the 1992 team, which included 11 future Hall of Famers and won its six games by an average of more than 43 points en route to capturing the gold medal, may not have been as athletic but was definitely smarter.