1010 WINS-Athletes from the United Arab Emirates have successfully competed in a total of eight Summer Olympic Games since the country’s National Olympic Committee was formed in 1979, winning their first medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece. Officially recognized by the IOC in 1980, athletes from the Persian Gulf country of just over nine and a half million people have never appeared in the Winter Games.
But one determined woman plans to relegate that fact to the nation’s history books — meet Zahra Lari, the UAE’s very first figure skater to compete on the world stage!
Although the 22-year-old may not have qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea this year, she did become the first woman ever to compete internationally wearing a hijab — albeit after some convincing.
According to the IOC rules regarding costumes, figure skaters are more-or-less free to choose their own wardrobe, with a few obvious restrictions on perceived nudity. Females may don dresses with matching attached briefs, trousers, or skin-colored leggings under dresses and skirts. Headscarves were notably missing from that list, which caused Lari to receive some deductions based on the perception that her hijab could fall off during competition.
After explaining that it could not, she has not received any more deductions moving forward.
Though temperatures in her country can get up to 128 degrees during summer, Lari continues to pursue her icy passion which began when she was just 12-years-old and became obsessed with the Disney film, ‘Ice Princess.’
And just like any good Disney movie, we can’t wait to see the happy ending “Ice Princess” Zahra deserves!