Saudi Arabia Becomes Final Olympic Team To Include Women

Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Qatar send first women to OlympicsThe never-ending saga regarding female participation in the Olympics seems to have finally reached a satisfactory conclusion, with the announcement Wednesday that two women would represent Saudi Arabia in the London Games. 

During the first week of July, the ultraconservative, oil-rich kingdom had stated that none of its women had qualified to compete in London. The nation eventually succumbed to massive international pressure, though many observers viewed the announcement as a lame compromise. 

Two other Islamic nations, Brunei and Qatar, agreed to enter women earlier this year. The three were the only countries in the world that had sent all-male squads to compete in past Olympics. 

Qatar entered three women, with Brunei sending a solitary hurdler. 

The Saudis were facing IOC sanctions if they did not include women on their team in London. Saudi Arabia has competed in the Olympics since 1972 in Munich, but without female athletes. 

As recently as the 1996 Games in Atlanta, 26 nations had yet to include women athletes in their delegations.

Saudi Arabia has entered a 17-year-old, 800-meter runner, who lives in San Diego, as well as a judoka in the 175-pound weight class.

The women will compete in uniforms that are consistent with Islamic law and tradition.