The 2016 Olympics Will Include A Refugee Team

Photo: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images.
President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Spyros Kapralos, (second from left) hands over the Olympic flame to Syrian refugee, Ibrahim Al-Hussein, (center), 27, an amputee swimmer, during the Olympic flame torch relay at the Eleonas refugee camp in Athens on April 26, 2016.


The Olympics just got a lot more inclusive.

On Friday, the International Olympic Committee revealed the team of refugee athletes who will compete in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. The team members will compete in swimming, judo, and athletics.

The refugee team includes five athletes from South Sudan, two from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, two from Syria, and one from Ethiopia. In addition to the 10 athletes, the group will include 12 officials.

"These refugee athletes have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem," Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, told The Huffington Post. He added that when the team enters the stadium, the Olympic flag will lead them, as "a symbol of hope for all refugees in the world."

"The initiative to send a refugee team to the Rio Games is unprecedented and sends a strong message of support and hope for refugees worldwide," the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said in a statement. The UNHCR noted that by the end of 2014, more than 59 million refugees had been displaced globally. That figure continues to increase.

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