Saudi Arabia finally agreed to send female athletes to the London 2012 Olympics but Shahrkhani only lasted 82 seconds in what some call a "sham". She was the only athlete not to hold a black belt, her father trained her privately, and she’s never faced competition at the world stage.
Saudi Arabia agreed to send women to the London Games on the condition they adhere to the kingdom’s conservative Islamic traditions, including wearing a headscarf.
One of Saudi Arabia’s first female Olympians — Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani — will compete wearing a modified headscarf.
It’s unclear if her participation is a sign of real progress for women or merely a sop by the government to the International Olympic Committee, which has been pressuring Muslim nations in particular to send more women competitors.
Shaherkani, for her part, said she hoped this meant "the beginning of a new era."
The judo match between a young Saudi and her Puerto Rican opponent was not, as the International Olympic Committee shamelessly called it afterward, "a great message to women." It was a sham.