Seven brave young women made history on Friday at the 2012 London Olympics.
For the first time female Olympians from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei will compete in the Games -aking the 2012 Games the first to have female participants from every nation.
Saudi judoka Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani and runner Sarah Attar's march in the Parade of Nations alongside their male teammates - faces beaming with pride, waving Saudi flags and giving the V for Victory sign to the crowd - may one day be remembered in much the same light as African-American athlete Jesse Owen's victories at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.
Saudi Arabia one of the most socially conservative countries in the world. Women there face not just systemic, but institutionalized and legislated, sexism in the highest degree.
For Saudi officials to allow women not just to participate in sports, but to represent their country on the highest international stage, is a victory greater than any gold medal.
Like Owens, support in their home country is far from universal. Conservative Saudi clerics and others used Twitter to deride the pair as, "Olympic whores," and worse.
After returning to the U.S. in 1936, Owens had to ride the freight elevator up to a reception in his honour at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. The main elevators were reserved for whites only.
People's views often take time to change, but moments like Friday can speed that process along.
When Owens stood at the top of the podium in 1936, he probably never imagined a black man would one day say the words, "I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States..."
The Olympics have been the scene of many inspiring, thrilling and historic moments: Harold Abraham's run - immortalized in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire - in the 1924 Games in Paris; 14-year-old Nadia Comaneci's perfect 10 gymnastics routines in Montreal; Derek Redmond limping across the finish line with a torn hamstring, supported by his father, in the 400 m final in Barcelona; Michael Phelps' and Usain Bolt's incredible showings in Bejing; Greg Louganis' recovery from hitting his head on a diving board to win a pair of gold medals in 1988; and many others.
Canadians have certainly had their share of memorable moments at the Games: Joannie Rochette's emotional bronze-medal skate in Vancouver, only days after her mother died suddenly of a heart attack; Canada's hockey teams winning gold medals in men's and women's hockey in 2002 and again in 2010; Cindy Klassen becoming the only speed skater to win five medals in one Olympic Games in Turin; Sydney Crosby's overtime goal in 2010 which crowned the Vancouver Winter Olympics and gave Canada 14 gold medals - the most won by any nation in a single Winter Games; Donovan Bailey's record-breaking 100 m sprint in 1996; and boxer Lennox Lewis' gold medal in 1988.
Despite the high ideals of the Games, the Olympics have been tarnished by scandals, doping, poor sportsmanship, rampant nationalism and out-of-control spending.
Corrupt judging nearly cost Jamie Sal and David Pelletier their gold medal in Salt Lake City in 2002. And who can forget Ben Johnson's fall from grace for doping.
But for every controversy, there is a thousand inspiring stories; a thousand athletes who have trained tirelessly - overcame barriers of racism, sexism, poverty, injuries and nay sayers of every stripe - to compete honourably for the glory of sport.
No other event brings the world together like the Olympics. No other event can inspire us to go faster, reach higher or be stronger like the Games.
So watch the Games, cheer on our athletes who have worked so hard to compete on our behalf, and enjoy the spectacle of human greatness which is the Olympics.
And perhaps at some point during the Games a Saudi, Qatar or Brunei flag will rise; a gold medal will be placed over the covered head of a proud Islamic female athlete; and the world will change just a little bit.
-- Associate news editor, Arthur Williams