Kariman Abdul Jadayel made history by competing as the first Saudi Arabian woman in the 100 meter sprint at the Rio Olympics. She placed 7th in the heats, which eliminated her from the competition but has nevertheless earned her worldwide praise. Dressed in a full-body suit and hijab, she timed in at 14.61 seconds. Afghanistan’s Kamia Yusoufi also competed in the heats in a hijab and full body clothing and finished in 14.02 seconds.
American fencer, Ibtihaj Mohammed, won a Bronze medal at the Rio Olympics also wearing hijab.
Cathy Freeman, an Australian sprinter, famously won the 400 meters in the 2000 Olympics wearing similar full-body dress.
These examples show that women’s bodies do not need to be exposed for them to compete successfully at any level of their chosen sport. In fact, the exposure of women’s bodies is anti-feminist, in that the particulars of their physique rather than their skill or prowess at their sport, attracts attention while detracting from the sport. Full body covering is not only compliant with the rules of Islamic dress, it also reclaims women’s right to desexualize their bodies.