Ladies First?

The London Olympics are just around the corner and looming on the horizon is a political hot potato that if not addressed could see the wrong kind of attention brought to the games.

International Olympic Council President Jacques Rogge is going to have to stick his head above the parapet and make a stand to avoid demonstrations and media attention of the unwanted kind.

The issue is in relation to the Saudi Arabian team to attend the games, it possesses no female athletes. Mr. Rogge is reported to have written to the powers that be in Saudi Arabia several years ago advising them that they are in contravention of the Olympic Charter which does not allow for discrimination; including discrimination on gender.

Many believe that the IOC have to take a stance similar too the one that they took in 1964 when they withdrew their invitation for South Africa to attend the Tokyo games after the interior minister at the time, Jan de Klerk, insisted that their team would not be racially integrated.

However many fear that if such a stance were taken other Arab nations would withdraw from the games, and a major international furore could ensue, with religion also being thrown into the mix. The IOC therefore may well opt for a protest in London as opposed to a full blown international incident.

These are the times when leaders are made and earn their respect. It will be interesting to see if Rogge chooses to enforce the Olympic ideals that were so important to his fellow countryman and founder of the modern Olympic Games Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

Ladies First?
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