And of course the reason for that seven-fold increase was that athletes were afraid to compete lest they fail to win their events. Uday Hussein was the overseer of the Olympic teams and he'd "deal with" anyone who didn't win.
How ironic that Iraq's chances rested (partially) in Kuwait's hands.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IRAQ STUNS FOOTBALL WORLD WITH UPSET VICTORY; EARNS HISTORIC FIRST TRIP TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES
Victory Guarantees Iraq Soccer Team a Place at 2004 Athens Olympic Games
Amman, Jordan -- May 12, 2004 ? In a stunning upset victory, the Iraq national football team defeated Saudi Arabia tonight 3 to1 to earn a trip to the 2004 Olympic Summer games in Athens. The victory marks the first time in Iraq?s history that its football team will compete in the Olympics. In addition to defeating Saudi Arabia, Iraq needed a draw in the final game between Kuwait and Oman to qualify. The game ended 0-0 sealing Iraq?s bid.
?This means Iraq is on the right path,? said Hawar Mulla Mohammed through tears moments after the game. He had scored the team?s go-ahead, and eventually winning, goal of the game. ?Our entire country deserves this incredible win. When the bus pulled into the stadium tonight we refused to think of anything but winning and now we are headed to Athens,? concluded the soon to be Olympian.
?The Iraqi team played a great match tonight,? said National Olympic Committee of Iraq President Ahmed Al-Samarrai ?Simply stated this is the biggest moment in Iraqi Olympic history.?
The victory means that Iraq will send approximately 30 athletes to the Summer games ? a seven fold increase from just four years ago.