Along with the excitement and clamor of competition, the 2012 London Olympic Games represent a landmark for female athletes. For the first time, every one of the 205 countries participating is sending female athletes.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei are sending women athletes for the first time. In 1996, by contrast, 26 countries did not send female athletes to the Atlanta Olympic Games. This year, of the 10,500 athletes competing in London, 40 percent are women.
This year’s U.S. Olympic team will include, for the first time, more women (269) than men (261). "It's evident where we've come from, especially with women in sports,” Teresa Edwards, the U.S. Olympic team chef de mission, told USA Today. “I'm very proud of that.”
Above, teammates Swin Cash, left, and Sue Bird sit together on the bench in the final moments of an exhibition women's basketball game.