Equality and the 2012 London Olympics

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    Aug 28, 2012
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The Olympic Games has the ability to show three things.  It can show how far we have all come as a society and the progress we have made over the years.  On the other hand, it can demonstrate extreme parallels between what we ourselves would consider "progress" and being out of touch with the way of modern living.  The final and perhaps most important aspect of the games is that it can be used as a platform to bridge the gap between inequality and equality.  At games of these magnitude, sport and politics are inextricably linked. The good news is it's not all negative and the 2012 London Olympics was no exception, with world politics at one point overshadowing the sport itself.

Although Sara Attar's performance was at best forgettable in the women's 800 metres, her participation heralded a historic moment for Saudi women.  For the first time in its history Saudi Arabia allowed female athletes to compete in the games. 

She never quite cut the figure of an outstanding athlete, and her time of 2 minutes 44.95 seconds was almost twice that taken for the other athletes to compete the race.  These are mere details however, when considering the wider context and the implication of Attar's involvement.  Her modest time belies the fact that she made history as being one half of the first ever women's team to represent Saudi Arabia.

Despite increasing globalization and the subsequent coming together of society, it is easy to forget that many people are still fighting for freedoms and rights that we ourselves take for granted. Now this does not mean that there is not a long way to go and one inclusion does not by any means indicate a level playing field.  It is a however, a step in the right direction.

Many people miss the point, when they critize the athlete who was, to be honest, not up to Olympic standard.  Through her modest performance, Sara Attar was doing something magnificent.  In a country where women are actively discouraged from performing sport, Attar was showing her compatriots what is and could be possible.  Now whether or not it is the dawning of a new age is doubtful, but perhaps in Rio 2016 we will see more Saudi women performing, who have been inspired by the benchmark set by this athlete.   

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Rick Samson loves working out and playing sports. He currently writes articles on Interesting Articles.

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