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Dispatches Ep 6 May 2, 2017

XX Factor: Snowboarding While Iranian

Mona Seraji is the first snowboarder from the Middle East to compete professionally in the Freeride World Qualifier, a series of big-mountain events that attract the best riders in the world. She's also a talented surfer, rock climber, and mountain biker. All this is more impressive when you consider the fact that in her home country of Iran, Seraji faces strict rules about how women can participate in athletics. Women aren’t allowed in sports stadiums, for example. They’re discouraged from riding bicycles in public. They can be arrested for showing too much skin or hair. In the United States, that sort of stuff is pretty much all we hear about female athletes—and women generally—in the Middle East. But it’s only part of the picture. Outside contributing editor Florence Williams talks with Seraji to get the real deal and hear how the athlete's powerful ambition enabled her to break new ground.