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February 10, 2022 10:34 am

Israeli, Iranian Skiers Race Winter Olympics Event Despite Iran’s Ban on Competing Against Jewish State

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Iran’s Atefeh Ahmadi competing in the 2022 Beijing Olympics – Alpine Skiing – Women’s Slalom Run 1 in Beijing, China, on February 9, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse.

Israeli skier Noa Szollos and her Iranian counterpart Atefeh Ahmadi both competed in the women’s slalom event at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, on Wednesday — an uncommon occurrence given that many Iranian athletes in recent years have refused to go head-to-head against competitors from the Jewish state.

Szollos, 19, a Hungarian-born athlete whose father is Jewish, finished her first round with a final time of 58.21 seconds, which placed her in 45th place out of the 88 contestants who competed, 30 of whom failed to complete the course, according to Israel Hayom. She finished her second run with a time of 59.13 seconds and was in 41st place in the overall standings with a combined time of 1:57.34 minutes.

Ahmadi, 21, finished her first round with a time of 1:11.88 minutes, which put her in 57th place. The athlete, who failed to complete her second run, is Iran’s youngest female skier to ever compete in the Winter Olympics, according to the Tehran Times.

Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova won the gold medal with a combined time of 1:44.98 minutes. Austria’s Katharina Liensberger took home the silver and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener received the bronze.

In September, following the 2020 Summer Olympics, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reaffirmed Iran’s policy of not allowing its athletes to compete against Israelis and promised to support athletes who are punished by international bodies for adhering to Iran’s ban. Iran, which does not recognize Israel, has over the years had multiple athletes pull out of the Olympics and other international competitions to avoid competing against Israelis.

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