Wojdan Shaherkani of Saudi Arabia fights against Mojica Melissa of Puerto Rico in a judo match on Friday. (Orestis Panagiotou / EPA / August 3, 2012)
A frightened Wojdan Shaherkani’s judo match lasted less than two minutes. But as the first woman from her country to compete in the Games, she may be the heroic start of historic change.
She was still shaking when they led her off the mat, her giant hand trembling in the tiny palm of her Olympic escort.
“I was a scared a lot,” said Wojdan Shaherkani, who may be the toughest woman at these Olympics.
She was still crying when they led her toward the locker room, wrapped in her brother’s arms, trying vainly to pinch the tears from her large, dark eyes. Yet the sobs of defeat settled on her cheeks in pools of victory. She had lost a heavyweight judo match in less than two minutes but may have helped alter a course of centuries.