February 25, 2010

Iran’s hijab skier competes on Olympic slopes

by David Masters

Iran’s first female Olympic skier made history this week as she took to the slopes in Vancouver.

Marjan Kalhor, who wore an Islamic headscarf under her ski helmet, said she was pleased with her performance despite finishing nearly 22 seconds behind the lead time.

“I’m just very happy, very happy,” the 21-year-old told journalists after her first run down the giant slalom.

“The only thing I was thinking about was to come to the Olympics to compete and I’ve done that.”

Kalhor has faced criticism from conservative Muslims in Iraq for taking to the international stage on her skis.

However, by wearing the hijab under her helmet, she managed to appease the opposition.

She hopes that by taking part in the winter Olympics she can encourage other Iranian women to take up skiing.

“The number of women who are interested in skiing is increasing fast,” she said.

“The next generation and my own, are thinking about competing, not just having fun.”

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