10 athletes were chosen to represent refugees from war-torn nations at the Olympics for the first time. These are their stories.
The Summer Olympics will feature 206 teams of athletes from specific countries. And for the first time ever, this month’s Games in Rio will feature another team of athletes that comes from no nation in particular and with no historical precedent.
For the first time, a Refugee Olympic Team will participate in the Olympics. The R.O.T., as the International Olympic Committee abbreviates it, includes 10 athletes, across four sports, from four countries in the Middle East and Africa.
The R.O.T. arrives at the Olympics at a particularly troubling time. The civil war in Syria has been driving an outright refugee crisis in Europe. The United Nations Refugee Agency says there are 4.8 million Syrian refugees, plus an estimated 8.7 million people displaced inside Syria this year. Its count of refugees and asylum-seekers from South Sudan is 850,000. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is more than 384,000 refugees and more than a million internally displaced persons. There are more than 700,000 Ethiopian refugees. This is just a sampling.
If there is light at the end of that darkness, the 10 athletes competing for the R.O.T. this month are a beacon. Each has escaped one of the war-torn countries mentioned above, and each now gets a turn on sport’s biggest stage …
From South Sudan
Rose Nathike Lokonyen, a runner supported by Kenya
James Nyang Chiengjiek, a runner supported by Kenya
Angelina Nada Lohalith, a runner supported by Kenya
Paulo Amotun Lokoro, a runner supported by Kenya
Yiech Pur Biel, a runner supported by Kenya
Rami Anis, a swimmer supported by Belgium
Yusra Mardini, a swimmer supported by Germany
From the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Popole Misenga, a judoka supported by Brazil
Yolande Bukasa Mabika, a judoka supported by Brazil
Yonas Kinde, a marathoner supported by Luxembourg
see videos, read more about each athlete –> http://www.sbnation.com/2016/8/5/