No, not the Egyptian silver medalist fencer Alaa AbdelKassem; not the Saudi runner in a headscarf, Sarah Attar. Not the members of the Olympics teams from the Middle Eastern Muslim majority countries, who are the subjects of articles about the conundrum of competing while observing the Ramadan fast. The invisible Muslim Olympians are the ones the media focuses the limelight on every day without once mentioning that they are clearly of Muslim heritage. A case in point is top Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina, whose father Farhat was also a gymnast.
Is it ever appropriate for the media to mention the ethnic or religious background of athletes? Perhaps the exception should be for athletes of a minority background who are rare role models, particularly Muslims, given that the media focuses first and foremost on the religious affiliation of a criminal or terrorist disproportionately if he or she happens to be of Muslim background. Is there any doubt that, if James Holmes had been called, say, Hussein Mustafa, that fact would have trumped all else in the coverage of the Colorado massacre?
All the better that Aliya Mustafina, like millions of women of Muslim heritage, wears no headscarf and never mentions her religion. The Olympics are about many things, and one of them is shattering stereotypes as well as records.