Meet The Athletes On The 2016 Refugee Olympic Team

by Becky Nash

With a huge proportion of the world’s population living as refugees, the Olympic Committee decided in March to choose five to 10 refugees to compete at the Rio Olympics. It goes without saying that being displaced doesn’t negate the incredible athletic abilities of so many and that refugees deserve a chance to compete alongside everyone else. I have so much respect for these athletes, and apparently so does the rest of world, since they were given a standing ovation during the opening ceremonies. However, we cannot forget that the refugee crisis is still in full swing and plenty of work to be done to end the violence that displaces millions of people around the world. The Refugee Olympic Team doesn’t signify the end of the refugee crisis, it only further highlights the need for solutions and the humanity of those who’ve had to flee their home countries.

In case you’re curious about who each of the team members are, here’s a little info:

James Chiengjiek, Yiech Biel, Anjelina Lohalith, Paulo Lokoro, and Rose Lokonyen are all runners originally from South Sudan, a country that’s been riddled by multiple civil wars. These five South Sudanese runners are currently being hosted in Kenya.

Yonas Kinde is a marathon runner from Ethiopia who’s currently being hosted in Luxembourg and works as a taxi driver.

Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika are judo competitors from the Democratic Republic of Congo who are currently being hosted in Brazil, where they sought political asylum after traveling there to compete in the 2013 World Judo Championships.

Yusra Mardini and Rami Anis are swimmers from Syria who are currently being hosted in Germany and Belgium. Mardini made headlines for helping to save 20 lives by pushing a sinking boat through the sea to Greece.

We are cheering these competitors on this year with the help of Grover from Sesame Street!


More from BUST

Leslie Jones Is Going To The Rio Olympics And All Our Dreams Are Coming True

3 Ways The Media Is Being Incredibly Sexist This Olympics

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