POSTED: August 2nd 2016

Olympic Refugee Team comes together for Rio 2016 Summer Games

IOC president Bach poses with the refugee team © IOC Ian Jones
IOC president Bach poses with the refugee team © IOC Ian Jones

MARISSA FLANDERS (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) As the Rio 2016 Olympics draw near, teams representing over 200 territories and countries will be competing on the global stage. These Olympics will be unique as for the first time ever, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has set up a team that will represent millions of people with no country.

The Refugee Olympic Team will include refugees from repressive regimes or failed states that have failed to protect their citizens. The team will include 10 athletes from Ethiopia, South Sedan, Syria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. All these athletes have had to overcome tremendous obstacles to be able to compete in Rio.

"I used to train and was waiting for the war to end in my country so I could go back to participating," expressed Swimmer and refugee team member, Rami Anis.

Rami had to flee his home of Aleppo in 2011 and was only able to take a small bag of clothes with him. His passion for swimming never faded.

The IOC has given refugees a united flag to compete under and a voice. They can show the world what they have had to overcome to compete and allow them to shine a light of the injustice they have faced. The Refugee Olympic Team reminds the world of the spirit of humanity and showcases the Olympic ideal. Refugees from around the world can find hope, determination, and courage on a united front.  

Judo Olympian and refugee team member from Congo, Popole Misenga stated, "We're fighting for all the refugees in the world...I'm not sad that I'm not going to carry the flag of my country. I will carry a flag of many countries."

** MARISSA FLANDERS is a graduate of Saint Leo University with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Business. She has over four years of writing experience and has a real passion for ice hockey following the Pittsburgh Penguins on her blog

Keywords · IOC · Olympics · Rio 2016 · Olympic Refugee Team · refugees

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