This Iconic Moment From Rio Is Going Viral — Here’s Why

Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters.
An image capturing two female volleyball players vying for the ball in Rio is going viral — and it has nothing to do with who won. On Sunday, Egyptian athlete Doaa Elghobashy went up against Germany’s Kira Walkenhorst during an Olympic beach volleyball match between the two teams. While Walkenhorst sported the bikini uniform familiar to many fans of the sport, Elghobashy made waves by being completely covered — hijab included. "I have worn the hijab for 10 years," she told The Associated Press after the match. "It doesn't keep me away from the things I love to do, and beach volleyball is one of them." The picture spread like wildfire on social media. While some called it a "culture clash," others celebrated that the picture captures the spirit of the Olympics — diverse countries coming together for the games. Before the 2012 London Games, the International Volleyball Federation eliminated the mandatory bikini uniform so countries with different dressing customs and practices could also participate in the sport. "Many of these countries have religious and cultural requirements, so the uniform needed to be more flexible," the federation spokesman Richard Baker told The Associated Press at the time. This is the first time Egypt has had a beach volleyball team competing in the Olympic Games. Elghobashy, who qualified for the games alongside her teammate, Nada Meawad, is relishing her time at the Olympics. "I'm proud to be seen raising the Egyptian flag in a carnival with so many nations," she said.

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