POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 09, 2012
The crowd roared at Olympic Stadium when Sarah Attar was introduced during the morning session, and she responded with a wave, a wide smile and a bit of a chuckle.
This was one extraordinary 800-meter heat.
Covered from head to toe, except for her smiling face poking out from her headscarf, Attar became the first woman from Saudi Arabia to compete in track and field at the Olympics when she clocked 2 minutes, 44.95 seconds in her preliminary race.
The 19-year-old Attar finished last in her heat. To her, the time wasn't the point.
"This is such a huge honor and an amazing experience, just to be representing the women," Attar said in an interview with the Associated Press. "I know that this can make a huge difference."
Her mother is American and her father is Saudi. She has dual citizenship, was born in California and runs track at Pepperdine University near Los Angeles.
The floor in an area where reporters were interviewing beach volleyball champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings gave way Wednesday night, sending reporters scrambling for stable ground.
No one was injured in the media mixed zone, and the two newly crowned gold medalists only slightly lost their balance before being ushered away. One of the joints that held the floor together dropped more than a foot, causing several panels to break apart under reporters' feet.