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Unless you’ve been completely removed from all forms of media you’ll have noticed that the Olympics are in full swing. While Lochte, Phelps and Jeter’s pursuit of gold medal glory have captivated most of the world, my eyes were drawn to a small group of women who made history by simply stepping on the field. Below the story of these inspiring women making Olympic history.
For the first time Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei have entered female athletes into the Olympic’s. For these women the battle for gold didn’t begin at the starting blocks, but through overcoming political, social and religious obstacles. At just 16 Wojdan Shaherkani of Saudi Arabia competed in Judoka (Judo) against Puerto Rico’s Melissa Mojica and while her time on the Olympic stage only lasted over a minute the fact that she competed was a radical moment. Her dreams of taking the Olympic stage were almost dashed by cruel words and racial abuse, representing a country where women aren’t allowed to drive cars or exit their home without a male escort she was dubbed a “Prostitute of the Olympics” with fellow countrymen openly stating that she doesn’t represent Saudi Arabia.
Afghanistan’s Tahmina Kohstani, 23, gave it her all in the 100 meter sprint finishing with a time of 14.42 seconds running in a track appropriate hijab in accordance with Islamic modesty laws. After suffering months of torment and ridicule by men who believe women shouldn’t be allowed to play sports at all she entered the track field to deafening applause. After her race she had this to say ‘I have a message for the women of Afghanistan. Come and join Tahmina because I need your support. We must be ready for the next Olympics; we should have more athletes in next year’s Olympic games. I’m going to do my best to be in Brazil, I am going to give reason for other athletes to follow my way.’
Perhaps the most touching story is that of Somalia’s ZamZam Mohamed Farah, just 21 years old she competed in the women’s 400m, one of two athletes representing Somalia at the games. She finished half a minute after the winner Francena McCorory (US) when most of the crowd thought the race was over, she held fast and finished.
I could go on and on about the other athletes that are taking home gold medal after gold medal but in my opinion every one of these women got a gold medal the minute the decided to take the stage and make history. It not only takes enormous discipline to enter the Olympics but these women displayed courage and dedication in the face of adversity to live out their dreams.
Despite not preforming to the level of their counterparts its can easily be said that these women had already won the gold. Truly inspiring, I hope to see them again in 4 years at the next Olympic games.