The IOC relented today, allowing Iraq into the Olympics after all. Originally the IOC had banned Iraq because the Iraqi Olympic Committee was more or less dissolved and replaced by people not sanctioned by the IOC. The ensuing disruption kept five Iraqis from qualifying for the games and this last minute save preserves the only two remaining qualifiers.
I don’t know how the Iraqis will do in these games, but I know that the men’s soccer team was a huge rallying point for the devastated people of Iraq in the 2004 games, finishing an amazing fourth. While the Olympics aren’t much, giving these people someone of their own to cheer for is a good move by the IOC. It would’ve been awful to deny those few athletes who qualified a chance and to deny a country under military occupation the ability to support home-grown athletes.