Ever since 1896, when the Olympic games first started, and nations from all around the world took part of these games to raise their nations’ flags up high. This year, and for the first time in Olympics history, an Olympics Refugee Team is competing as well. 10 refugee, 10 athletes, 10 survivors from 4 different countries torn apart by wars, will be competing under the Olympic flag.
1- Yusra Mardini: (from Syria, fled to Germany)
At the age of 14, only 4 years ago, Yusra’s family put her and her sister on a dinghy heading to Greece with 20 other people. Minutes after their departure, the boat started sinking, and Yusra had to take action. She and her sister jumped into the water and dragged the dinghy for three hours! She is repping the ORT in Swimming.
2- Rami Anis: (from Syria, fled to Belgium)
Rami started swimming as a young boy growing up in Aleppo. As the war in Syria grew more severe, he had to take an inflatable dinghy to Greece. He later found his way to Belgium where he decided to focus on swimming and started training again nine times a week!
3- Popole Misenga: (from Democratic Republic of Congo, fled to Brazil)
Popole was only nine years old when he was separated from his family! When he lacked a family’s guidance through life, Judo taught him discipline and commitment. Now he is representing all refugees at Rio, proving they can go places and win big!
4- Anjelina Nadai Lohalith: (from South Sudan, fled to Kenya)
Anjelina has not seen her parents since she was six years old! She discovered she was a good athlete after winning several school competitions at the refugee camp where she lived in Kenya. She will be competing in the 1500 metre race.
5- James Nyang Chiengjiek: (from Southern Sudan, fled to Kenya)
He was only 13 when he fled to Kenya, running away from a group of rebels recruiting child soldiers. He then joined a group of boys training for long distance events. He discovered he has what it takes, “and when God gives you talent, you have to use it,” he says.
James will be competing in the 800 metre race at the Olympics.
6- Yolande Mabika: (from Democratic Republic of Congo, fled to Brazil)
After being separated from her parents at a really young age, and enduring many years of abuse, Yolande finally found her way to Rio where she managed to win a spot on Team Refugees. She will be competing in Judo.
7- Paulo Amotun Lokoro: (from Southern Sudan, fled to Kenya)
After having fled his homeland to Kenya, Paulo lived in a refugee camp where he excelled in school sports. He didn’t even have training shoes before he made it to Rio, but after hard training, he will be competing in the 1500 metre race.
8- Yiech Pur Biel: (from Southern Sudan, fled to Kenya)
Yiech Pur Biel first started playing football at the refugee camp where he lived in Kenya. However, he felt that running made him depend more on himself and control his own fate. This is why he will be competing this year in Rio in the 800 metre race.
9- Rose Nathike Lokonyen: (from Southern Sudan, fled to Kenya)
Rose discovered her hidden talent after fleeing to a refugee camp in Kenya. One of her teachers suggested she competes in a 10 km race, and to Rose’s surprise, she finished second! Ever since, she’s been working for this day, where she’ll be competing at the 2016 Olympics in the 800 metre race.
10- Yonas Kinde: (from Ethiopia, fled to Luxembourg)
The only athlete from Ethiopia on the Olympics Refugee Team: Yonas Kinde. Yonas has been living in Luxembourg for the past 5 years, and trains daily. However, ever since he heard about the Olympics Refugee Team, he started training twice a day everyday to get where he is today. Yonas made it to Rio where he will be running the men’s marathon.