Report: Crossing the Finish Line of a Discrimination-Free Olympics

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Washington DC – In the wake of Saudi Government’s ban on women’s participation in Olympics, the Institute for Gulf Affairs released a policy paper Crossing the Finish Line of a Discrimination-Free Olympics recommending that countries which preclude women from international athletic competition be banned or restricted from the 2012 Olympics in London and other forms of international athletic competition. With the pressure from several international organizations, Saudi Arabia finally sent only two women to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Saudi women are still actively discouraged from taking part in sport.

The International Olympic Committee charter states that “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, sex or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.” However, the International Olympic Committee is falling behind in adhering to its own standards of nondiscrimination by enforcing some and ignoring others. For instance, South Africa was excluded from the Olympic Games in 1964 for its apartheid policies, but IOC continued to allow participation of countries that prohibit women from partaking in sports.

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