With one week until the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics, we’re getting excited to cheer on our home countries to win gold! There are over 200 countries competing in the 2016 games in Rio across 42 different sports. While we can’t wait to see how our teams do, we’re even more excited to see the Olympics’ first refugee team competing this year.
According to UNHCR, there are over 59.5 million refugees fleeing conflict and persecution around the world and within this group of people are highly skilled athletes looking for an opportunity to compete on the world stage.
In March of this year, the International Olympic Committee announced there would be a team of refugee Olympic athletes competing in the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro. Many are hoping this will help bring awareness to the world’s refugee crisis, and we at Inspired Adventures hope so too!
The IOC called upon the 206 National Olympic Committees competing in this year’s games to nominate any athletes living in their countries with refugee status whom they thought had the skill to compete. A total of 46 individuals were nominated for the opportunity and a final team of 10 athletes was confirmed in June.
The team is made up of six men and four women, and they will compete in swimming, judo, and athletics. The athletes are originally from South Sudan, Syria, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia and have sought refuge across Belgium, Kenya, Luxembourg, Brazil, and Germany. During the opening ceremonies, the team will walk behind the Olympic flag in front of the home team, Brazil.
Meet the team
- Rami Anis (25) from Syria – 100m butterfly
- Yusra Mardini (18) from Syria – 200m freestyle
- Yolande Mabika (28) from Democratic Republic of the Congo – middleweight
- Popole Misenga (24) from Democratic Republic of the Congo – middleweight
- Paulo Amotun Lokoro (24) from South Sudan – 1500 metres
- Yiech Pur Biel (21) from South Sudan – 800 metres
- Rose Nathike Lokonyen (23) from South Sudan – 800 metres
- Yonas Kinde (36) from Ethiopia – marathon
- Anjelina Nadai Lohalith (21) from South Sudan – 1500 metres
- James Nyang Chiengjiek (28) from South Sudan – 800 metres
Best of luck to the first refugee Olympic team! We can’t wait to see them compete and represent the many refugees across the world, and bring hope to those currently fleeing their countries.
Check out our calendar for our 2017!
[mgl_instagram_user username=”inspiredadventures” cols=”6″ number=”6″]