As more teams begin to arrive, we start to find out
more about them. Determining who is going to carry the flag is a big
part of the job in these days before the Games, and preparations for
the Parade of Nations are a huge task. As always, I am very interested
in the women that will be competing in the various events. My first
Olympics, Atlanta, marked an outstanding show of achievement by
American women, especially in team sports such as basketball, softball,
and soccer. In Athens, some nations will be sending women for the very
first time. Rubab
Raza, for example, a swimmer from Pakistan, is only 13-years
old. Her family accompanies her daily to her training sessions in order
to help her feel more comfortable in a pool filled with male athletes,
and she is one of two women that will compete in Athens for Pakistan.
Afghan sprinter Rubina
Muqimyar will have the honor of carrying her nation's flag in
the Opening Ceremony. She has been training at Ghazi Stadium, which was
the site of the Taliban's public executions, and she will compete in
tracksuit pants, in compliance with religious ideas of decorum. While
she likely will not win a medal in her event, the 100m, her appearance
is significant. In 1999, of course, the International Olympic Committee
suspended the Afghanistan delegation because the Taliban had forbidden
women from competing in sports. When the IOC overturned the suspension
last summer, IOC president Jacque Rogge
asked that Afghanistan choose a
female flag bearer to symbolize the change that had taken place.
Muqimyar represents why Afghanistan has been able to return to the
Olympic movement once again.
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sure to check back often
for Dr. Amy Bass's updates
to her Online CNR