Meet The First Ever Refugee Olympic Team

Meet The First Ever Refugee Olympic Team

Ten individuals who have become world-class athletes despite war are competing at the Rio Olympics 2016.

"I don't see a country called Refugee anywhere on the map -- do you?"

That's the very first comment I read when watching a video of Yusra Mardini, 18, one of the 10 athletes that make up the Rio Olympics 2016 Refugee Team.

Now, the Rio Olympics finally represents the true and whole world -- a team that represents over 65 million refugees worldwide.

To those questioning where the nation "Refugee" is, I kindly ask to refer to the Principles of Olympism (aka the Philosophy of Olympic Games):

"The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity."

The Olympic Games serves to reflect this principle: to show that groups of people who are unjustifiably burdened by the tyranny of war and have become displaced from their very own homes exist. To show that we as humans can break these geographical and societal boundaries. To show that we care, and that everyone matters.

The Olympics have allowed Kosovo (still officially a part of Serbia) to make its Olympic debut, Chinese Taipei to compete with over 50 athletes and Palestine to compete with its six athletes.

Although Kuwait has been banned from the Olympics by the IOC, swimmer Faye Sultan will still be allowed to swim. The Olympics allows athletes to participate despite the mistakes of their home country.

1. Swimming: Yusra Mardini, 18 -- Syria

2. Swimming: Rami Anis, 18 -- Syria

3. Judo: Popole Misenga, 24 -- Democratic Republic of the Congo

4. Track and Field: Yonas Kinde, 36 -- Ethiopia

5. Judo: Yolande Bukasa Mabika, 28 -- Democratic Republic of the Congo

6. Track and Field: Paulo Amotun Lokoro, 24 -- South Sudan

7. Track and Field: James Chiengjiek, 24 -- South Sudan

8. Track and Field: Anjelina Nadai Lohalith, 23 -- South Sudan

9. Track and Field: Yiech Pur Biel, 21 -- South Sudan

10. Track and Field: Rose Nathike Lokonyen, 21 -- South Sudan

These refugees are not a monolithic group, nor are they helpless.

Like all of the world-class athletes competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics, these are powerful and strong individuals who have risen above the violence and the lack of means of their home country. These are individuals who have gone this far despite war. As this team fights to represent the dozens of millions of people who have not been given to dignity and respect they deserve, I hope that you will be cheering them on with me.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Minorities are consistently under-represented in our day-to-day lives, notably in the world of fashion. It's likely you're looking for a way to support black artists. Whether that's the case or you're just a fashion-lover in general, these brands aren't just some of the best black-owned fashion brands — they're some of the most innovative brands of our time, period.

From luxury staples to fun accessories and loungewear, these brands aren't just stunning names you should definitely be following on Instagram, each honors the founder's roots in unique ways with the power of storytelling through artistic expression that manifests in pieces we can't wait to wear.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

10 Home Items You Need For Stress Relief, On The Days You 'Literally Cannot'

Fill your home with peaceful, calming coping mechanisms.

I'd like to think that 2020 is teaching us a lot. Or will teach us a lot. Or will be a story we tell at parties one day. Ultimately, this year has been — and is probably going to continue to be — a bit of a mess.

At the beginning of the year, Australia was on fire and we mourned the death of Kobe Bryant. Then, coronavirus (COVID-19) took our spring and shut us in our homes, inciting panic over public health and sparking political upheaval at every decision made by local and federal officials alike. Now, a week after George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, a nationwide conversation is reignited with protests regarding racial injustice in the United States. There is an enormous amount of tension, hurt, and change that is upon the American people.

Keep Reading... Show less

No matter who you are (an introvert, person of color, member of the LGBTQ+ community, Scorpio, TikToker, you name it), we want to hear what dating in America is like for you and the thoughts you have while working through the talking stage, first dates, navigating love, working through dating problems, etc.

Keep Reading... Show less

30 Black-Owned Skincare Brands Every Beauty-Lover Should Know About In 2020

They're not changing the game — they're making a new one.

Skin is something most beauty-lovers obsess over from our early teens, whether our aim is to be glowier, softer, dewier, or poreless, most of us are consistently tracking a new skincare goal. No matter how many products we try, we'll likely forage on with the goal of IRL Photoshopped skin, no matter how many dollars go to them.

The black-founded skincare brands below are the brainchildren of extreme dedication and resilience within the privileged world of beauty. Born out of resilient entrepreneurs overcoming circumstance in a world that does not favor business people of color, these brands have loyal cult followings, and with good reason.

Keep Reading... Show less

A huge part of being in a relationship is communication and, well, part of communication is listening. So, why not have a little fun with your partner and see just how well they know you?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

7 Ways You Can Safely Attend A Protest In The Middle Of A Pandemic

Wear a mask, but speak up.

It seems like coronavirus (COVID-19) has been around forever now. Life before masks and with public sporting events is a distant memory, hoping to make a comeback sometime this year. We've all had to make some sort of life changes to abide by this pandemic's rules. But that doesn't mean everything has stopped. On May 25, George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, sparking a cry for justice and racial equality across the nation.

For the last week, protests have taken place in major cities like New York City, LA, DC, Chicago, Phoenix, Portland, Dallas, and Floyd's hometown of Minneapolis. Many of the cities experiencing protests have begun phased reopening, while others (specifically New York City and LA) have yet to begin phase one of post-coronavirus reopening.

As COVID-19 is hardly in our rearview mirror, there are extra precautions protestors can take as they advocate for justice.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Helpful, Effective Mental Health Resources Specifically For The Black Community

These organizations are qualified, caring, and acknowledging the mental trauma individuals are experiencing.

On May 25, George Floyd died after being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer. In the last week, protests have sprung up across the nation, demanding justice for Floyd and accountability for police brutality. Social media has also seen widespread conversation regarding Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and racism in the United States. Today is #BlackoutTuesday, where many are sharing a single black square to represent unity and support for Black voices.

In light of the heavy climate that our country is facing, it is a safe assumption that many individuals' mental health may be suffering. We wanted to highlight mental health resources and organizations that are Black-owned and prepared to assist in whatever you're going through.

Keep Reading... Show less

15 Black-Owned Haircare Brands That Cater As Much To Inclusivity As They Do To Your Locks

Championing Black entrepreneurs who make some of our hair favorites.

The haircare industry is vast. With the rise of social media came hundreds of thousands of empowered, niche brands. Single entrepreneurs came out of the woodwork with hair brands that now, years later, have dedicated cult followings.

Of those multitudes of brands, few cater to all hair types, most made without regard for curly or coily hair. These brands, however, are different.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments