Editor’s note: Jackie Joyner-Kersee is a former long jump and heptathlon U.S. athlete. She has won three Olympic gold medals, one silver and two bronze, and is considered by many to be the greatest female all-round athlete in history.
By Jackie Joyner-Kersee, special to CNN
(CNN) – The 2012 London Olympic Games fostered a generation of hope. I witnessed women participating for the very first time, representing every nation. Congratulations to 800 meter runner Sara Attar and judoka Wokdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani. Shahrkhani represented Saudi Arabia in judo and was among a number of other pioneer women who were part of the very first Olympics in which every country sending a team to London included at least one female athlete.
Their participation and that of athletes from Libya, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, Qatar and other nations exemplifies how far we’ve come, on a global level. The celebration of 40 years of title IX – legislation that guaranteed equal opportunities in women’s college athletics – what a year to celebrate!