Arab American Olympians: What You Didn't Know
BY: Kristina Perry/Contributing Writer
RIO: As the Olympic excitement gears up, and teams are officially announced, Arab Americans have more reason to look forward to the events. This year’s Olympic team consists of many Arab Americans, in a variety of events. While Arab Americans are heavily represented in academic fields as doctors, lawyers, and professors, they are often overlooked as athletes. Here are six members of Team USA that are Arab Americans, click through to see their stories and learn more about the sports they play!
It’s possible that there are more Arab Americans representing the United States in the upcoming Olympics, but Arab America was unable to confirm.
1) Farida Abu-Zeida
Auburn, AL, Team Handball (Egyptian) from Cairo, Egypt, Farida moved to America with her family in 2008, and plays Team Handball. Farida started playing when she was seven, and graduated from Auburn University in 2012.
2) Alex Naddour
Gilbert, AZ, Gymnastics (Lebanese), 2011 Bronze Medalist and member of the 2012 Olympic Team, Alex is married with a baby daughter named Lilah, and works as a real estate agent when not training for the Olympics.
3) Adam El-Zoghby
From Cairo, Egypt, Team Handball (Egyptian) Elzoghby was introduced to handball by his mother, a former professional handball and volleyball player. Elzoghby is the founder of In The Zone Sports Egypt, a Sports Management and Events Services company; ELFIT Fitness Festival, first fitness festival in the Middle East; ELFIT Fitness Challenge, the fittest man in Egypt.
4) Zain Shaito
Winfree, OH, Pentathlon (Lebanese) father from Lebanon, mother American, pentathlon, did fencing before pentathlon, and has five siblings: Mai, Mona, Malak, Manal and Samar. His younger sisters Mai and Mona compete in women’s foil on the Ohio State fencing team, and Mona will be joining him in the Olympics. Zain played hockey growing up at the right wing position and hopes to pursue a career in physical therapy.
5) Mona Shaito
Winfree, OH, Fencing (Lebanese), sister of Zain Shaito. She represented Lebanon in foil at the 2012 Olympic Games held in London, after starting college early. Shaito, who was raised in Texas and attended Ohio State University, holds dual citizenship, both Lebanese and American. Shaito became Asian U-23 Fencing Champion in Women’s Foil on September 7, 2015 during “Ulaanbaatar 2015” Asian U-23 Fencing Championships.