Being the first Egyptian to earn a medal in Brazil, Sara Ahmed will go down in history as a trailblazer, a feminist, and an ultimate Olympian.
Well, that, and a badass Muslim girl.
After placing third in the 69kg (lifting 255 kg) weightlifting competition, Ahmed, 18, took home the first Bronze for Egypt in the Rio 2016 games Aug. 10. She stood beside gold medallist Xiang Yanmei of China and silver medallist Zhazira Zhapparkul of Kazakhstan.
Emotions were high; Ahmed was sobbing and embracing her coach after seeing her scores. She is also the first female Egyptian to stand on the podium. Ever. In the history of all Olympic sports.
She is also the first female Egyptian to stand on the podium. Ever.
Although she is the second female to still be awarded a medal, as a silver medal was awarded in London 2012, it was after other competitors’ medals were were relinquished upon doping.
Ahmed hopes her story galvanizes other female Arab athletes into going after their dreams, she said in an interview with Al Arabiya.
Ahmed started lifting when she was 11, she said, following suit after her older brother.
“As a female athlete myself, I didn’t have many female Muslim role models to look up to. I love that the world now has Ibthibaj Muhammads and Sara Ahmeds and Yusra Mardinis. Their strength and determination gives me unbounded hope and pride. When I see them on TV, representing not only their country, but the 1.6 billion Muslims of the world, I think to myself, ‘Wow, what better time is it to be a Muslim Girl than right now? In 2016,'” she said.
“When I see them on TV, representing not only their country, but the 1.6 billion Muslims of the world, I think to myself, ‘Wow, what better time is it to be a Muslim Girl than right now? In 2016.'”
Ahmed’s actions and achievements are a testament to the notion that athleticism does not discriminate based on gender, nationality, faith, or any other attribute. The words of my favorite new Coca-Cola commercial seem fitting for this occasion: “Gold is a feeling that everyone can taste.”
Keep on slaying, Sara Ahmed!