For the first time in history, Saudi Arabian women are competing in the Olympic games. It’s a milestone year for all women as every participating country has sent both male and female Olympians for the first time, but it is a particular victory for Saudi women who are denied basic rights in their home country such as the legal approval to drive a car or appear in public.
From the article:
Two young women from Saudi Arabia made history at Friday night’s Olympics opening ceremony. Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shahrkhani, the first female Saudis to ever compete, represent a landmark moment for Saudi women, who are pushing hard for their most basic rights, and for the female Olympians who arealready the great victors of the 2012 games. These are the first Olympics in which every participating country is sending women: other hold-outs were Qatar and Brunei.
The International Olympics Committee negotiated with Saudi Arabia for months before finally convincing the country, which systematically excludes women from not just sports but social or outdoor activities in general, to allow these two athletes to go to London.