Triple X Olympics: Female Equestrians

With the recent selection of the U.S. Dressage team, the anticipation for equestrian London Olympics 2012 is at a fervor! (Please tell me you have seen the satirical Colbert Report video about "dreh-sahhge").  The equestrian games will run July 27- August 12.
 One of the major headlines is that Saudi Arabia has decided to permit females to participate in the games.  Previously, Saudi Arabia did not permit females to represent the country in the Olympics because the audience would be of mixed-gender.

Dalma Rushdi Malhas, born in Ohio, but also has Saudi citizenship


But when the Olympic committee threatened to ban all Saudi athletes from the games unless females were allowed to participate, Saudi Arabia decided to change its course.
Enter equestrian Dalma Rushdi Malhas, considered by some as Saudi Arabia's "token" female athlete.  Dalma won a bronze medal in the Singapore 2010 Junior Olympics; she was invited to the games this summer, but unfortunately has not qualified due to an insufficient number of clear show jumping rounds and insufficient record of jumping the requisite height (one source notes it is due to injury of her Swedish warmblood mare).  She is now aiming for Rio Games 2016.

Dalma has brought important attention to gender equality laws in sports.  In the U.S., gender equality in sports took an enormous leap forward by the enactment of Title IX, a section of the Education Amendments of June 1972.

    "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
Once Title IX was signed, female participation in U.S. high school sports leapt over 1000%, and over 600% in varsity collegiate sports in one year.  Male participation increased during that same time by 22% and 46% respectively.
I couldn't imagine not being permitted to compete in equestrian sports based on my gender alone; the Saudi policy change is certainly something to cheer at this summer's Olympics... let the Games begin!
{Image Sources: Equus Blog}