Helen Russell, an age group triathlete, feminist and socialist who blogs here commented on 12.7 about how all teams are now mixed.
Saudi Arabia has been forced to bow to international pressure from the media, women’s organisations and the IOC who were becoming increasingly embarrassed by the whole saga.
The Saudi athletes are Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani who is competing in the +78kg judo and Sarah Attar who will be racing in the 800 meters.
I am so proud that it will be London where, for the first time ever all countries represented will field a mixed team. This is a historic moment for women in sport and had led to some commentators calling this the Women’s Games.
And it is not only the numbers that make this the Women’s Games – the introduction of female boxing means that women are now able to participate in the same sports as men.
The Games are certainly showing how barriers to the involvement of women in sport are slowly breaking down and old prejudices are being beaten back.
In another first, the US team will be majority female, with 269 women and 201 men and our very own Team GB are fielding their largest ever number of female athletes with 48% of the team being women.
And it is not only the numbers that make this the Women’s Games – the introduction of female boxing means that women are now able to participate in the same sports as men. It was shocking that the IOC wanted to make skirts compulsory for women boxers but they soon had to back down from that sexist throw back.
Of course the campaign to end discrimination of women in Saudi Arabia and across the globe doesn’t stop here. There is still a long way to go until women in some countries have basic freedoms, never mind equality. However we have come a long way from the 1900 Games when women were first allowed to be Olympians.
The barriers are but slowly coming down…