Woman Flag-Bearer: An Olympic Breakthrough for Iran

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 05: Flag bearer Zahra Nemati of Islamic Republic of Iran leads her team during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 05: Flag bearer Zahra Nemati of Islamic Republic of Iran leads her team during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

When archer Zahra Nemati carried the Iranian flag into the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, she broke new ground for the Muslim country. Never before had a woman led Iran’s team into the parade of athletes in an Olympic opening ceremony. In Iran, female fans are traditionally barred from attending male-only sporting events. Arriving in the stadium in a wheelchair, wearing a green head covering, Nemati was the flagbearer for a team made up overwhelmingly of men. It’s quite a way for the 31-year-old Nemati to make her mark on her first Olympics.

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