This week I’ve been crushing pretty hard on Sarah Attar, who was one of two women to represent Saudi Arabia in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. This was only the second Olympics in which Saudi Arabia had allowed women to compete, and American-born Attar was able to enter.
In the lead up to 2012 Attar had reservations about not being fast enough to race (in the 800m at the time), but was allowed a wildcard entry which permitted her to compete despite not having hit the qualifying time. She took this opportunity because of the symbolic significance it would have for women in Saudi Arabia and worldwide.
On her first Olympics, she commented, “For the first time, Saudi girls saw that sports was a possibility for them. They could grow up to be an athlete. I’ve reflected on that and it’s powerful.”
Returning in 2016 to run the marathon, Attar’s goal was to finish strong; and this was what led to her triumphant finish, despite coming second from last. She eschewed self-doubt and ego, saying, ““My participation is bigger than myself…finishing strong would speak to the importance of women’s presence in the Olympics, and the strength anyone can have.”
Coached by Deena Kastor and now sponsored by Oiselle, Attar can teach us something about the true, transformative nature of the sport, as opposed to the numbers, personal bests and self-defeat we can often get caught up in.
Who have you been crushing on recently?
Lots of love,