“I want to represent all the refugees because I want to show everyone that, after the pain, after the storm, comes calm days,” says Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini.
The International Olympic Committee has created a team of refugee athletes that will compete at the 2016 Rio Games. In 2015, The UN Refugee Agency reported that 59.5 million people worldwide have been displaced from their homes, fleeing from conflict and persecution. IOC President Thomas Bach says, “By welcoming the team of Refugee Olympic Athletes to the Olympic Games Rio 2016, we want to send a message of hope for all refugees in our world.”
Team Refugee Olympic Athletes will be treated just like all of the other teams at the Olympics, but will compete under the Olympic flag and anthem. They’ll carry the Olympic flag when they march at the Opening Ceremony, ahead of host country Brazil.
The team consists of 10 individuals who were selected based on sporting level, official refugee status, and personal situation. They come from Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, and will compete as swimmers, judokas, and runners.
Yusra is an 18-year-old swimmer from Syria who will compete in the 200-metre freestyle, as a member of the team. While fleeing Syria, the boat that Yusra and her sister were on started taking on water. Together, they got into the water and pushed the boat towards Greece, saving the lives of about 20 passengers. They made it to Lesvos and continued on to Germany, arriving in September of 2015.
To meet the rest of Team Refugee Olympic Athletes, read the full article.