Sarah Attar

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Sarah Attar
Personal information
Nationality Saudi Arabian, American
Born 27 August 1992 (age 21)
Escondido, U.S.
Residence Malibu
Country  Saudi Arabia
Sport Athletics
Event(s) 800 metres
College team Pepperdine University
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals London 2012 (didn't advance)
Personal best(s) 2:40:00

Sarah Attar (Arabic: سارة عطار‎) (born 27 August 1992), is a track and field athlete who competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics as one of the first female Olympians representing Saudi Arabia. She has Saudi Arabian and American dual nationality and is currently a student at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles County, California.

Early life and education[edit]

Attar was born in Escondido, California in 1992.[1][2] Her mother, Judy, is an American national hailing from California[3] and her father, Amer, is a Saudi Arabian national.[4][5] She graduated from Escondido High School in 2010,[1] having competed for the school in cross country running.[6] As of 2012 she attends Pepperdine University,[2] where she is majoring in art, having won the Rex Hamilton Memorial Art Scholarship.[1]

Athletic career[edit]

Attar was named one of the first two women to compete for Saudi Arabia in their Olympic team at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The other woman representing Saudi Arabia is judoka Wojdan Shaherkani. Prior to June 2012, the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee had banned female athletes from competing at the Olympics,[7] but the International Olympic Committee had threatened to ban Saudi Arabia from the Games unless they allowed women to compete.[8] She was expected to wear outfits that comply with Islamic law.[9]

2012 Olympic Games[edit]

Attar was one of two athletes from her University to be selected to compete at the Olympics, along with Roxanne Barker, who is on the South African team.[5]

During the Opening Ceremonies' Parade of Nations, Attar and Shaherkani, the only two females in the Saudi Arabian delegation, were forced to walk behind their male teammates,[10] unlike delegations from other Islamic nations.[11]

Attar competed in the women's 800 metres and took up the automatic qualification spot for a track and field athlete.[12][13] Her personal best at that distance is 2:40,[1] having competed at this distance during high school but not since she has attended college.[12] Attar competed in Heat 6 of the women's 800m qualifying heats on August 8, 2012, where she finished last, with a time of 2:44.95. Despite finishing more than half a minute slower than her nearest competitor, hundreds of spectators stood and applauded Attar as she crossed the finish line.[14] Olympic TV coverage of her finish.


  1. ^ a b c d "Sarah Attar". Pepperdine Sports. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Pilon, Mary (13 July 2012). "Saudi Arabian Trailblazer, by Way of United States". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Sarah Attar -". 9 August 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Claverie, Aaron (12 July 2012). "Pepperdine track athlete making Olympics history for Saudi Arabia". North County Times. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Pepperdine's Attar to Make History Running for Saudi Arabia at Olympics". Pepperdine Sports. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sarah Attar - Cross Country Athlete Profile". Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Gardner, Frank (24 June 2012). "London 2012 Olympics: Saudis allow women to compete". BBC News. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Al Nafjan, Emma (13 July 2012). "London 2012: don't forget that most Saudi women are banned from sport". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  9. ^ Blake, Matt (12 July 2012). "Saudi Arabia finally allows TWO female athletes to compete in London 2012 for first time in Olympic history". Daily Mail. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "For Saudi Judo Player, a Quick Loss But a Barrier Broken". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "First Saudi Female Olympian Finishes Last". Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Zeigler, Mark (12 July 2012). "Escondido woman to make Olympic history". UT San Diego. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "London 2012 Olympics: Saudi Arabian women to compete". BBC News. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "Sarah Attar is first Saudi Arabian woman in Olympic track and field". The Guardian. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012.