I asked Emmanuelle Moreau, head of media at the IOC, why rules were broken in order to accommodate Islamists. She did not give me an answer, but claimed that the increase in numbers of female athletes taking part in the Olympic Games over the years is largely due to the IOC, which has been "striving to ensure that the Games are universal and non-discriminatory, and of course to reach gender equity."
She continued: "The IOC does not give ultimatums or deadlines but rather believes that a lot can be achieved through dialogue. We have been in regular contact with the three NOCs which never sent women to the Olympic Games [Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabia]. As a result of fruitful discussions, the three NOCs included women in their delegations competing at the Youth Olympic Games in August 2010 in Singapore, which can been seen as a promising development leading towards London 2012."
Dame Kelly Holmes says: "I believe the IOC should commit to achieving gender parity in the number of medals available by 2016. I would like to see women of each and every nation represented at London 2012. Only then will the Olympics be equally inspirational for boys and girls."
I agree with Dame Kelly, but not at the price of Muslim women athletes having to cover themselves and so display their compliance with an ideology that affords them fewer rights than men and an inferior place in the world. This flies in the face of the Olympic ideal.
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