A 1920 photo of Ethelda Bleibtrey, who represented the United States at the Olympic Games. (AP photo) (AP)
This year's summer Olympiad has a lot of firsts. After pressure from the International Olympics Committee about its ban on women athletes, Saudi Arabia is sending two to London, ensuring that the 2012 Games is the first in which at least one woman from each country competes.
Back home, the U.S. Olympic team boasts more female athletes than men--a first. In celebration of the Games and all the nations competing, we've put together a slide show of some of the notable--and diverse--faces from Olympic history.
Related Next America story: 40-Pus on Team USA Are Foreign-Born)
Alice Coachman of Albany, Ga., winner of high jump event in Grand Rapids, Iowa, July 6, 1948. (AP Photo) (AP)
America's Victoria Manalo Draves competing in the compulsory dives of the women's Olympic Games springboard competition at Empire Pool, Wembley, London, Aug. 2, 1948. (AP Photo) (AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale holds up a pair of boxing gloves presented to him by Olympic gold medalist Paul Gonzales, right, during Mondale's speaking appearance, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 1984 in Los Angeles at the rally on the campus of the University of Southern California. (AP Photo/Lana Harris) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The USA's Trent Dimas, is congratulated by silver medalist Gregori Misutin, right, of the Unified Team, after Dimas scored a 9.875 on the horizontal bar Sunday night, August 3, 1992, in Barcelona. At left is Dimas' coach Ed Birch. (AP Photo/Craig Fujii) (AP)
Diver Sammy Lee poses during Olympic trials, July 11, 1948, Detroit, Mich. (AP Photo/Preston Stroup) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
U.S. Olympian sprinter Michael Johnson poses for photographers holding the Olympic Flame at Stonehenge, England, Thursday, July 12, 2012. Johnson, who won four Olympic gold medals and eight world championship gold medals, currently holds the world and Olympic records in the 400m and 4 x 400 meters relay. The Olympic Torch is being carried around England in a relay of torchbearers to make its way to the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
John Baxter Taylor, Olympian from 1908, won gold in Medley Race in Track and Field (National Journal)
United States' Dara Torres reacts after winning the silver medal in the women's 50-meter freestyle final during the swimming competitions in the National Aquatics Center at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) (AP)
This article is part of our Next America: Communities project, which is supported by a grant from Emerson Collective.
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