Keep Your Eyes On The Prize, Hold On
I realise rules are rules, but I felt it showed a deplorable lack of joined-up thinking for the International Olympic Committee to put huge pressure on the sporting authorities in Saudi Arabia to get them to send female athletes to the games for the first time in 2012, to agree with the Saudis that their athletes would be competing in suitably Islam-compliant dress, and then for the Judo Federation to ban one of the two Saudi women because they refused to allow her to wear a headscarf. I'm not necessarily saying the ban has no merit: their top concern is the safety of competitors, after all. But the matter could have been aired before the athlete (Wojdan Shaherkani) arrived in London. Either she could have been left out of the team altogether, or a compromise could have been reached at an earlier stage.
Anyway, a compromise HAS now been reached, and she will be competing in a suitably adapted headscarf. After all, banning her would have helped nobody except the conservatives in Saudi Arabia who reckoned she was a whore for wanting to compete on the first place. Though it would clearly have pleased the knuckle-walkers at BNI (Bonni's Nazi Insultfest) who clearly think women athletes aren't real women at all. Maybe they were the ones sending tweets to that effect to our record-breaking weightlifter.
(Update: it seems unfunny "comedian" Frankie Boyle, fired by the BBC a few years ago for mocking the disabled, has jumped onto the "mocking female athletes" bandwagon in the hope of picking up a few fans among either Nazis or Mullahs.)
On Tuesday, my wife and I visited the University of Padua on a guided tour. One of the things they proudly display is a statue of Elena Cornaro Piscopia. Who? Well, back in 1678 she became the first woman to graduate from a university anywhere in the world. Here we are, three hundred and thirty-four years on (more than a third of a millennium), and progress in the matter of women's equality still seems like wading through molasses.