The Refugee Olympic Team will attend Rio 2016. IOC allows the team to compete at this edition of the Olympics.
Since the Olympic Games embrace many sport disciplines and so the widest audience possible, the Olympic are also a huge mediatic event,
Because of that, the IOC – International Olympic Committee – decided to bring to Rio a refugee Olympic team of 10 athletes coming from Democratic Republic of Congo, Sud Sudan, Etiopia and Syria.
Six of them will attend the athletics competitions (one of them will run the Olympic marathon), two of them will play judo and the other two will attend the swimming competitions.
The stories behind the Refugee Olympic Team
Ysra Mardini, from Syria, will be swimming 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly.
Her story is quite heartbreaking and inspiring. She and her sister, who’s a swimmer too, were escaping from the bombs falling. They both left their mainland and started swimming in the plain sea. By swimming they managed to reach the Greek isle of Lesbo, where hundreds of refugees gather in the hope to start a better life elsewhere.
Ysra now live in Germany, where she’s been training to pursue her Olympic dream.
“I cannot fight for my country. I will fight for the Olympics,” said Yolande Mabika, judoka from Congo. She’s been living in Brazil for thee years. She had witnessed the civil war in her country about ten years ago. Now she plays judo to forget everything she saw in the war.
ICO president Thomas Bach has said that the Refugee Olympic team at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 will “Send a message of hope for all refugees in our world. Having no national team to belong to, having no flag to march behind, having no national anthem to be played, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the Olympic flag and with the Olympic Anthem. They will have a home together with all the other 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees in the Olympic Village.”