Arabs seeking Olympic glory: a look at their checkered medal past
After the weekend of the Opening Ceremony and flag parades starring Arab entries to the London Games, we look at Arab achievements in Olympic-terms to date. We take stock of medals gained, and success delivered by Arab athletics and tot up the Arab world's collective and individual medal count historically. From the Olympic's Arab inception in Stockholm 1912, 100 years ago, until Beijing 2008, we borrow from a CNN report in Arabic to bring you the figures and facts. Continue reading below »
Of course in the Arab world, where states and countries were not established according to today's demarcations and autonomies until the mid-20th century, some countries (unlike of course Egypt who pioneered the Arab entry to the Games in 1912) did not enter until much later. It is not a level playing field. World Wars, amongst other sports spoilers, have put a spanner in the works of Olympic Games leading to cancellations, and, regionally, Arab nations were impeded from entering by chaos at home.
These Summer Olympic Games in London 2012 have witnessed a stoking in Arab pride as we see the first women from Saudi competing and Syrian athletes coming out to 'play' in spite of a terrible home-front.
Some countries are ommitted on the grounds that they lack an Olympic 'record' to date so to speak. Jordan, Yemen and Iraq amongst other Arab states who are all fielding a decent athletic delegation at London 2012, are still to achieve their sporting worth in metal. Perhaps 2012 -- the year of Arab Spring advances - could be the year for Arabs to write history in the sporting arena as well.
So far, while Arabs have been out in numbers at the flag parades, they have not been so visible at the medal ceremonies. Will 2012 put more Arabs on the Olympic map?