For the first time in Olympic history, 10 athletes will compete at Rio 2016 for the Refugee Olympic Team in a move designed to bring global attention to the magnitude of the worldwide refugee crisis.
10 people, displaced from South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have been picked in three sports – athletics, swimming and judo. The athletes marched with the Olympic flag immediately before host nation Brazil at Friday’s opening ceremony to rapturous applause.
International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, said before the ceremony, “This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis.”
“It is also a signal to the international community that refugees are our fellow human beings and are an enrichment to society. These refugee athletes will show the world that, despite the unimaginable tragedies they have faced, anyone can contribute to society through their talent, skills and strength of the human spirit.”