Kimia Alizadeh is the first woman from Iran to win an Olympic medal

Kimia Alizadeh is the first woman from Iran to win an Olympic medal
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Kimia Alizadeh is just 18 years old and is already viewed as an icon by fellow Iranians on Twitter for her incredible feat Thursday night. She became the first woman to win an Olympic medal while representing Iran when she won the bronze in taekwondo.

Alizadeh defeated Sweden's Nikita Glasnovic in the under-57 kilogram division by 5-1 for the bronze medal, Yahoo News reported. In doing so, she became an inspiration for a whole generation of young Iranian women.

For several decades following the Islamic revolution in 1979, Iranian women were barred from competing in the Olympics. It wasn't until the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, when Lida Fariman, an archer, became the first Iranian woman to be allowed to compete in the games since the revolution. 

Alizadeh, who competed in a sports hijab under her combative gear, has a successful career in the martial arts. In the 2015 World Championships, Alizadeh beat out Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones from Great Britain to win a bronze medal. In 2014, she won the gold medal in the youth Olympic Games at Nanjing, China.

Kimia Alizadeh
Source: 
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Now, in a country where women are prohibited from watching men compete in sport events as spectators, Alizadeh is not only bringing home a medal, but also a message: There is nothing an Iranian woman cannot do.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Sarah A. Harvard

Sarah is a staff writer covering religion, race and politics. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, and VICE. Send tips and feedback: sharvard@mic.com

MORE FROM

HBO doesn’t need ‘Confederate.’ ‘Kindred’ already exists.

Octavia Butler's masterwork is the gold standard for speculative fiction about slavery — and it would make a brilliant HBO series.

70% of Muslims still believe in the American dream, according to new Pew study

Despite high rates of discrimination, Muslims are optimistic about their lives in the United States.

Man with Nazi tattoos at Cleveland Indians game sparks outrage. The Indians’ mascot is still racist.

Swastikas are bad. So is Chief Wahoo.

Baton Rouge police chief resigns after a year of political turmoil over Alton Sterling shooting

Baton Rouge's mayor had campaigned on a promise to replace the city's police chief, in the wake of Alton Sterling's shooting death.

‘Whose Streets?’ film highlights Ferguson activists’ battle with the trauma of protests

Brittany Ferrell, an organizer of the Ferguson Uprising, says a new documentary about Black Lives Matter protests shows why activists should be more intentional about checking in on each other.

Minneapolis police chief resigns after fatal shooting of Australian woman

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau announced in a Facebook post that she is stepping aside.

HBO doesn’t need ‘Confederate.’ ‘Kindred’ already exists.

Octavia Butler's masterwork is the gold standard for speculative fiction about slavery — and it would make a brilliant HBO series.

70% of Muslims still believe in the American dream, according to new Pew study

Despite high rates of discrimination, Muslims are optimistic about their lives in the United States.

Man with Nazi tattoos at Cleveland Indians game sparks outrage. The Indians’ mascot is still racist.

Swastikas are bad. So is Chief Wahoo.

Baton Rouge police chief resigns after a year of political turmoil over Alton Sterling shooting

Baton Rouge's mayor had campaigned on a promise to replace the city's police chief, in the wake of Alton Sterling's shooting death.

‘Whose Streets?’ film highlights Ferguson activists’ battle with the trauma of protests

Brittany Ferrell, an organizer of the Ferguson Uprising, says a new documentary about Black Lives Matter protests shows why activists should be more intentional about checking in on each other.

Minneapolis police chief resigns after fatal shooting of Australian woman

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau announced in a Facebook post that she is stepping aside.